Ghana and Nigeria are rivals on the African continent. Sort of like siblings, always playfully fussing and fighting or bragging. They like to “out-do” each other and prove to the world who is best.
Jollof Wars Continue
Now we all know about the battle over the best jollof rice between the two powerhouse nations, and we are biased and smart enough not to incite a riot with this post. So we will leave that fight for another day and discuss the recent tweet from Twitter.
Twitter Chose Ghana Over Nigeria
Twitter the global social networking platform that allows users to “tweet” comments and microblog posts and interact with others across the platform, intends to expand its wings to the African continent.
When rumors of this started to fly, Nigeria was at the top of the shortlist. It would seem to be the obvious choice. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa – making it the biggest market on the continent.
Nigeria has a burgeoning tech scene was also a reason to get excited. Google has an office in Lagos, and last year Facebook announced it was opening an office in Lagos in the near future. And if that is not enough to warrant Twitter to enter Nigeria, the fact that there are almost 40 million registered Nigerian Twitter users – more than the entire population of Ghana.
So why did Twitter not choose Nigeria?
Ease of Doing Business
There are litany of reasons that Twitter would choose Ghana over Nigeria
- Ease of doing business – Nigeria’s government loves to complicate things. Big business does not like complications. A recent example was given – you can land in Ghana’s Kotokas airport and immediately purchase a sim card for your mobile phone. Try this in a Nigerian airport and see how you like the experience.
- In 2019 Ghana ranked 13 places ahead of Nigeria in the world banks ease of doing business index.
- Ghana is a more productive market – This is what tech companies like. A productive market with little interference from the government.
- Ghana also ranked as the 43 most peaceful country in the world – 104 spots ahead of Nigeria.
Nigeria Bans Twitter
All the aforementioned reasons to not do business in Nigeria were soon realized when in early June of this year, President Muhammadu Buhari announced that he is banning Twitter in Nigeria after Twitter deleted a series of his tweets that were directed to Igbos in the east that were veiled threats of retaliation.
Champion of Democracy
Twitter in their statement stated why they chose Ghana over Nigeria.
“Ghana is a champion of democracy, a supporter of free speech, online freedom and the Open Internet”Courtesy Twitter
They also mentioned that 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.” – source CNN.
Does this Decision Surprise you?
It shouldn’t. As a Nigerian, if you are honest with yourself, and you understand the deep rooted issues that are present in the country, you should completely understand the decision that Twitter made.
And as if right on cue, Nigeria proved Twitter right with their subsequent ban on the social media giant, which will have deep ripple effects in the country and region.
Can Nigeria learn from their repeated missteps? Must we shoot ourselves in the foot all the time? Will we ever grow into our self appointed title – as the Giant of Africa?