Big Moves in Africa by Facebook,

By David Cohen Comment


Facebook and its initiative made two major announcements related to improving Internet access in Africa.

Co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post that the social network is teaming up with mobile carrier Airtel Africa to launch’s Free Basics services in all 17 countries served by the latter.

Zuckerberg also mentioned the recently announced agreement with satellite operator Eutelsat Communications and global satellite communications company Spacecom to build a dedicated system of satellite capacity, gateways and terminals on Spacecom’s upcoming AMOS-6 satellite with the aim of bringing data connectivity to Africa.

And he announced a partnership with the Praekelt Foundation to provide tools for developers to build free basic services in the region.

Zuckerberg wrote in his post (embedded below):

It’s a big day for connecting Africa. In South Africa earlier today, we announced with Airtel Africa that we will be bringing free basic services to all 17 countries where they operate. first launched in Zambia, and today, one-half of the 30 countries with Free Basics are in Africa.

These new launches will bring free services to Burkina Faso, Chad, Gabon, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone and Uganda.

We also recently partnered to launch a satellite to provide Internet coverage to remote areas of sub-Saharan Africa starting in 2016.

We’ve also partnered with the Praekelt Foundation to give developers the tools they need to build free basic services to reach people just coming online.

Girl Effect is one of these services, and in this video, Elisha is using it as part of Free Basics in Kenya to access information to help empower girls to become leaders.

Connecting people across the African continent is critical to our mission. We’re going to keep pushing forward to develop new ways to bring people online until the whole world is connected.

Readers: What are your initial thoughts on the steps taken by Facebook and in Africa?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.