Facebook’s Chief Product Officer visits Ghana to learn from its tech and creative talent

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Chris Cox, Chief Product Officer at Facebook, visited the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in Accra, Ghana today to meet with Ghanaian entrepreneurs and see how they are working to build sustainable technology businesses. Later in the day he witnessed the force of Ghana’s creative talent in an event at ANO Gallery, which was co-hosted by ANO Gallery and Bless the Mic.

Chris’s visit is part of a week-long trip to Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal where Chris is keen to understand how creatives, developers and entrepreneurs are using mobile technology to create services, content and businesses that address local needs.

“With Facebook and its family of apps, we aim to give people around the world the ability to connect with each other, grow their businesses and tell their own stories,” said Cox. “I am excited to see how Ghana’s entrepreneurs are using mobile, video and other technologies to build products and services that empower the community and that address local needs or solve local problems in innovative ways.”

The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology and the MEST Incubator program provide training, investment and mentoring for aspiring technology entrepreneurs with the goal of creating globally successful companies that create wealth and jobs locally in Africa. Each year top graduates from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa are selected to receive comprehensive training across the spectrum of skills required to build successful tech businesses, including computer programming, software development and product management.

Jorn Lyseggen, CEO of Meltwater and Founder of MEST said., says: “We’re excited to host Facebook at MEST and to share how we can work together to drive innovation in Africa. Mobile technology is giving people in Africa new opportunities to become entrepreneurs and content creators – and we were proud to show the Facebook team how young companies and entrepreneurs on our programme are making a difference.”

Cox later attended an event at the ANO Gallery where he was part of a panel discussion with art, music, food and fashion design entrepreneurs, discussing how they use the Facebook and Instagram to tell powerful and engaging stories to audiences in Ghana and beyond.

The event brought together a host of local talent including Bless the Mic, a platform for local and international artists to showcase their talent in Ghana. Bless the Mic began in 2006 where they organised weekly small scale open-mic nights in bars and pubs across Accra for young poets and hip hop artists to rhyme and battle. In 2017 things are now on a larger scale, Bless The Mic has graduated to big concert events whilst helping to launch the careers of many of Ghana’s now leading musicians.