Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey capped a whirlwind tour of Africa in 2019 by pledging to move to the continent for several months in 2020.
Now it seems that his business will make that move first.
In a statement announcing the decision, Twitter described Ghana “as a champion for democracy, a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet.”
The social media giant also cited Ghana’s hosting of the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as another reason for moving there, saying it aligns with “its ambition to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa.”
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said “the choice of Ghana as headquarters for Twitter’s Africa operations is EXCELLENT news,” and described it as a “beautiful partnership between Ghana and Twitter and which is critical for the dev’t of Ghana’s hugely important tech sector.”
‘No ease of doing business’
Some Nigerians blamed an “inconducive business environment” for Twitter choosing Ghana over Nigeria.
“Under @MBuhari our ease of doing business is so bad that it’s easier for terrorists to get phone lines than law-abiding residents. You can land at Ghana’s Kotoka Airport and get a SIM card at the airport. But a camel has to pass through the eye of a needle to get one in Nigeria,” said Reno Omokri via Twitter, a former presidential aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Omokri was referring to the suspension of new phone lines registration because of a federal government policy to link all active SIM cards in the country to a national identity number (NIN) for security reasons.
The exercise is time consuming and the deadline has been extended multiple times, leaving new arrivals unable to obtain a local number, until at least May.
Another Twitter user, lawyer Moe Odele wrote: “One of our clients wanted to open shop in Nigeria for their West Africa office. Once we sent them a breakdown of the regulatory requirements for their industry (also tech), they hit us with ‘we will get back to you.’ We haven’t heard back since then.”
Another commenter, Onye Ajuju, said Twitter’s decision was justified and that Nigerians had a “bloated sense of entitlement.”
“It’s unbelievable seeing Nigerians throwing a tantrum because Twitter went to Ghana. The lack of awareness of how bad things are in the country, the bloated sense of entitlement, the unhinged expectations that everyone should accept Nigeria’s dysfunction…it’s incredible!” she said.
In 2019, Ghana ranked 13 places higher than Nigeria in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index.
Google (GOOGL),Microsoft (MSFT) and Huawei are among international tech giants that have expanded their operations in Ghana, targeting software developers and young creatives on the continent.