Facebook's Chief Product Officer, Chris Cox, makes first visit to Senegal
Chris Cox, Chief Product Officer at Facebook, was in Senegal Friday to find out how the country’s creatives, developers and entrepreneurs are using Facebook and Instagram to bring their passions to life.
Senegal is Chris’ last stop on a trip to West Africa which has seen him visit Nigeria and Ghana to learn how Facebook and Instagram can better support the region's creatives, entrepreneurs and businesses to tell their stories to local and global communities.
First stop on his trip was ‘Stories of Senegal’. Organised in partnership with Pop-Up Africa, the event brought together a host of leading local Facebook and Instagram creatives including food blogger, Corinne Erambert of Les Ateliers Cuisine de Corinne; Oceane Harati, Head of PR at Dakar Fashion Week; and travel blogger, Olivia Codou Ndiaye, Co-Founder of Dakar Lives.
Chris Cox, Chief Product Officer at Facebook said: “Stories matter, whether it’s the stories of our lives or the story of Africa’s growth and ascendance” says Cox. “We want Senegal's storytellers — the artists, bloggers and musicians — to take their stories to the rest of the world. It's been an honour to meet with some of Dakar's top talent today and learn about how they are using technology to share their stories and perspectives within Senegal and around the globe.”
The ‘Stories of Senegal’ event was designed to lift the lid on the stories, cultures and talent in Senegal. During the morning, Pop-Up Africa and Facebook hosted a panel with some of Senegal's top Instagrammers including food blogger, Corinne Erambert of Les Ateliers Cuisine de Corinne and travel blogger, Olivia Codou Ndiaye, Co-Founder of Dakar Lives.
Olivia Codou Ndiaye, co-founder of blog Dakar Lives and @LekkRek said: “As a food aficionado I think life is too short to miss out on a good meal. That is why the Dakar Lives team founded 'Lekk Rek', the first guide to Senegal's best food and restaurants. As our online community grows we are now expanding into other African countries and using technology to give insights into a whole world of culinary traditions and cultures.”
Corinne Erambert of Les Atelier De Corrine said: “I founded my business ‘Les Atelier De Corrine’ three years ago. Since then I have used my blog, Facebook and Instagram to really build a community of food lovers who come to my pages to see videos and photos of the new dishes I am trying out. I often give people recipes within my posts so that if people like the look of the food I make, they can try it out at home.”
During the event, Dakar chefs Corinne Erambert of Les Atelier De Corrine and Francine Pipen, gave Chris Cox a crash course in local Senegalese cooking. The cookery class, which was streamed across the world on Facebook Live, saw Chris learn how to make local dish couscous rice, and watch how to prepare Yassa.
Jessica Laditan of Pop-Up Africa said: “I was very happy to introduce some of Senegal's talent to the teams at Facebook and Instagram. I am passionate about showcasing Senegal’s cultural narratives to the world and platforms like Facebook offer powerful new ways do that.”
Later that day Chris attended an event with local tech entrepreneurs where he took part in a discussion about building tech products in Francophone Africa. Panelists included some of the region’s most promising developers:
Omar Cissé, CEO at In Touch - a Senegalese mobile payments and digital services aggregator;
Jimmy Kumako from Coin Afrique - an online marketplace designed to simplify the exchange of goods and services in French-speaking Africa;
Malick Ndiyae, Cabinet Minister, Post and Telecommunications, Senegal;
Seynabou Thiam, from Neylam Services - a creative digital agency based in Dakar, Senegal.
Says Cox: “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. I am excited to see how entrepreneurs in Senegal are using mobile, video and other technologies to build products and services for the community that address local needs or solve local problems in innovative ways. I'm here to listen, learn and take ideas back to California on how Facebook can better support tech development and entrepreneurship in Senegal.”