Social media giant, Facebook in collaboration with Airtel Africa have unveiled an online incubator that will help developers and organisations in 17 countries in Africa, including Nigeria, to launch mobile social services on the Internet.org Free Basics platform.
Facebook announced that the deal will begin in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and Niger, at an annual mobile industry event in Cape Town, South Africa.
Free Basics is part of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative and aims to provide basic websites and other services to introduce people to the internet and demonstrate how it adds value to their lives. Part of this is providing basic information about health, education and finance to people in emerging markets.
Speaking at the launch the Vice President of internet.org, Chris Daniels said:
“We are excited to continue our partnership with Airtel in bringing more people online.
“More than one billion people have access to Internet.org’s free basic services across Asia, Africa and Latin America today.
“Our intention is to help people in Africa access relevant basic services that will help them improve their lives and also lead to more adoption of the internet.”
He added: “I am especially pleased to note that the platform encourages developers to create local content which helps customer’s access services in a language they understand and also keeping them connected online.
Airtel customers currently using the app and mobile website will be able to continue using the Android app, though it will now be called Free Basics by Facebook in Google Play.
The launch in all markets will be completed by March 2016.
Back in June, Facebook announced it had 120 million users in Africa, 80% of which use mobile to access the internet.