Facebook’s F8 conference, held in San Francisco last week, partnered with African developers to launch products for the global market.
Two teams from Malawi have won a developer challenge supported by mobile operator TNM Malawi and Facebook, and were featured on Facebook’s F8 developer conference’s international stage.
Maternitech, founded by three 22-year olds – Walter Moyo, Thandie Magasa, and Daniel Mvalo – provides educational information aimed at combating Malawi’s high under-18 pregnancy rate.
Talk To Me is an app created by 10-year old Panashe Jere, who learned to code at a Coding for Kids session at Malawi Hub. This app converts input text into voice so children always have someone to talk to.
Chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, said in a blog, “One of the best parts of my day was meeting these four incredible young people from Malawi.”
The global tech giant announced at the F8 conference, held in San Francisco last week, that it had partnered with African developers to launch products for the global market. It said it was including developers from Africa in its beta testing programme as it increased its presence and deepened it partnerships on the continent.
“We believe that local entrepreneurs and developers will be the ones to meet the needs of their immediate community, and we are working with developers to know how we can support them in doing so,” says Emeka Afigbo, strategic product partnerships manager at Facebook. “We are listening to our developer partners in Africa, and the strong showing for F8 is a reflection of our commitment to doing more with our partners across the continent to help them build products and businesses.”
Over 2 600 people attended the conference, with hundreds of thousands more watching via Facebook Live as, over the period of two days, new products, tools, interactive demos and speakers helped developers build, grow and monetise their apps.
African developers who partnered with Facebook to launch products at F8 include Afrinolly (Entertainment, Nigeria), Gumtree South Africa (Classifieds, South Africa), vZikoko (Entertainment, Nigeria), Jobberman (Jobs, Nigeria/Ghana), The Net (Entertainment, Nigeria) and My Music (Media, Nigeria).
As Sandberg said, “More than half the world is still offline. This is why connecting everyone matters – because when more people can contribute their experiences and ideas, everyone benefits.”
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