In addition to hosting its first-ever African FbStart workshop for developers, Facebook also shared how it is empowering local retailers and entrepreneurs with Internet.org’s Express Wifi programme.
Chris Daniels, VP of Internet.org at Facebook, said: “Our mission is to give people the power to share and to make the world more open and connected. Only half of the planet is on the internet – our aim with Internet.org is to connect the other half through initiatives such as Free Basics, solar-powered airplanes, satellites, and our exciting new programme, Express Wifi. According to the ITU, internet Penetration in Africa is now at 28%, but there is so much more do be done.”
Express Wifi by Facebook empowers local entrepreneurs to provide quality internet access to their communities and make a steady income. Working with local internet service providers or mobile operators, they’re able to use software provided by Facebook to connect their communities.
The programme is currently live at 150 locations in five countries across two continents.
In Africa, Facebook already has partners in Tanzania, Nigeria, and South Africa, with more deployments planned soon, including Ghana.
“This is a sustainable approach to bringing connectivity to underserved communities in countries across Africa – it is a business model that will grow itself because it empowers entrepreneurs to serve their communities.
“We're encouraged by the progress we've made - but also inspired by what we've seen in the community,” says Daniels. “It’s exciting to see local economies transformed by connectivity as people use the internet to enhance existing businesses or create new ones.”