Twitter for Nigeria, in Ghana…
You have probably heard the news, Twitter officially has an Africa headquarters and it’s based in Ghana. Surprised? Well, a lot of people are and so was I.
However, there’s more than meets the eye. Scrolling through the company’s announcement of the Twitter office in Ghana, you will see a lot of people speculating on reasons why Kenya, Nigeria and even South Africa were skipped as choices for Twitter.
The obvious reason is the ease of doing business. Let’s leave South Africa out and focus on Kenya and Nigeria. It’s clear that these two countries have their own share of troubles, brought about by poor governance and laws that are likely to scare off big corporates like Twitter. Especially the taxes, that’s the major reason that tweeps online are giving as to why Kenya and Nigeria were skipped.
So, Why Not Kenya?
While this is true, Kenya’s tax regime is not friendly at all, this argument overlooks one very important thing, what exactly was Twitter after? Speculation aside and since we are yet to get an official explanation from Twitter (I doubt we ever will), we can use the public information we have access to, to understand Twitter’s move.
So far, the company has announced 12 job openings. From analysts, researchers to curators and a few more. While the company has announced they will be hiring an engineering team, those positions are yet to be made public. Interestingly, all the job openings already announced have one thing in common, they target the West African market, specifically Nigeria.
Take your time, go through the listings and you will be met with descriptions like; “The ideal candidate for this role should have a deep, non-partisan, understanding of Nigerian news and politics,” or “This role is located in Accra, Ghana and focused on Nigeria.” If there’s no mention of Nigeria, there’s a requirement to know the language, specifically, pidgin, “Fluency and ability to read and write in English and Pidgin English,” another role states.
Clearly, Twitter is targeting Nigeria. Twitter wants Nigeria and rightfully so, with close to 40Mn Twitter users, the platform is one to reckon with in the country – remember the #EndSars campaign that took the world by storm? Even when Jack Dorsey (Twitter’s CEO) came to Africa, he spent some good time in Nigeria. Top this up with the fact that a lot of the useful bots we have on Twitter are actually made in Nigeria – like the quoted RTs bot whose functionality was later merged into the official Twitter app.
So, why didn’t Twitter settle in Nigeria?
Twitter For Nigeria, in Ghana
The truth is, it’s very hard to do business in Nigeria, even tweeps from the country agree with this and are not surprised by it. However, unlike Kenyans, Nigerians are probably right. Twitter skipped Nigeria because it just wasn’t feasible for them to set up there. But as we have seen from the job listings, the company still has a need and yearns to serve Nigeria, so they went for the next best option and that is Ghana.
The citizens of Ghana and Nigeria have always been bitter rivals despite not sharing a border – and it’s not just about Jollof. These two countries are like brothers that went separate ways but have never seen eye to eye. However, thanks to the long list of similarities that they possess and the close proximity Ghana has to Nigeria, it’s probably why this investment-friendly nation was the best choice for Twitter.
The World Bank also ranks Ghana higher than Nigeria when it comes to the ease of doing business. This, coupled with Ghana’s push to become an investment hub in the region made it the perfect candidate.
In its announcement, Twitter notes, “As a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate. Furthermore, Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area aligns with our overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa.”
Kenya Still Has A Lot To Work On
As much as my argument stands, Kenya was never on Twitter’s radar because we are not their target market yet, our tax regime and ease of doing business needs to improve. Not only for locals but for international companies that may be looking to set up shop in Kenya.
The likes of Microsoft, Huawei, IBM and Google already operate in the country but if we want to attract even more companies; Apple, Facebook, Spotify and Amazon are already scouting in Africa, a lot of policies need to change. Otherwise, we shall continue to make noise online when the next tech giant announces official entry into Africa.
Elon Musk Says He’ll Pay $11 Billion in Taxes in 2021 But Twitter Wants ‘Proof’
Elon Musk took to Twitter to clarify once and for all that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes this year.
If the number of times Elon Musk could count when someone has asked him to pay the full taxes, he would be a very rich..wait, never mind. The Tesla boss is rich beyond any private individual has been in history, reports said.
Musk has increasingly been facing criticism from many politicians and many others who insist he has not been paying taxes as compared to the profits his companies have been making. On Sunday, the SpaceX CEO took to Twitter to share that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes.
For those wondering, I will pay over $11 billion in taxes this year— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2021
But some of the questions did not stop. One person tweeted how they needed to see Musk’s tax returns while yet another asked how much percentage was that of his total income.
A few were, however scathing of the government who thought they will add that amount to their pockets rather than using it for some proper development.
Wow that’s enough to give each person in the world almost $2 million but instead the government will just stick it in their pockets— greg (@greg16676935420) December 20, 2021
Why not $200 billion? Asking for a Senator— litquidity (@litcapital) December 20, 2021
Earlier this week, Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren has tweeted to say that Musk should pay taxes and stop “freeloading off everyone else” after Time magazine named him its “person of the year”.
In response, Musk shot four tweets in which he said that the senator reminded him of a friend’s angry mom who yelled at everybody. He tweeted, ““And if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year.” “Don’t spend it all at once … oh wait you did already.”
He added further, “You remind me of when I was a kid and my friend’s angry Mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason.”
Musk responded by saying that he “will pay more taxes than any American in history this year”. This Twitter exchange left netizens divided as even though many supported Warren and agreed that Musk should pay more taxes, others felt that he was already doing enough.
Musk’s Tesla is worth about $1 trillion. Over the last few weeks, he has sold nearly $14 billion worth of Tesla shares.
The Tesla boss has been pushing for his colonize Mars agenda for years now, and has made it very clear in some occasions that he would rather spend the money on putting humanity on the red planet, than pay his taxes. “My plan,” the SpaceX founder tweeted about his fortune, “is to use the money to get humanity to Mars and preserve the light of consciousness.”
Twitter Admits Policy ‘Errors’ After Far-Right Abuse Its New Rules of Posting Pictures
Twitter’s new picture permission policy was aimed at combating online abuse, but US activists and researchers said Friday that far-right backers have employed it to protect themselves from scrutiny and to harass opponents.
Even the social network admitted the rollout of the rules, which say anyone can ask Twitter to take down images of themselves posted without their consent, was marred by malicious reports and its teams’ own errors.
It was just the kind of trouble anti-racism advocates worried was coming after the policy was announced this week.
“Anyone with a Twitter account should be reporting doxxing posts from the following accounts,” the message said, with a list of dozens of Twitter handles.
Gwen Snyder, an organizer and researcher in Philadelphia, said her account was blocked this week after a report to Twitter about a series of 2019 photos she said showed a local political candidate at a march organized by extreme-right group Proud Boys.
Rather than go through an appeal with Twitter she opted to delete the images and alert others to what was happening.
“Twitter moving to eliminate (my) work from their platform is incredibly dangerous and is going to enable and embolden fascists,” she told AFP.
But the rules don’t apply to “public figures or individuals when media and accompanying Tweets are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”
By Friday, Twitter noted the roll out had been rough: “We became aware of a significant amount of coordinated and malicious reports, and unfortunately, our enforcement teams made several errors.”
“We’ve corrected those errors and are undergoing an internal review to make certain that this policy is used as intended,” the firm added.
Jack Dorsey Post Twitter Is Chasing His Crypto, Fintech Dream
At a packed Miami conference in June, Jack Dorsey, mused in front of thousands of attendees about where his real passion lay: “If I weren’t at Square or Twitter, I’d be working on Bitcoin.”
On Monday, Dorsey made good on one part of that, announcing he would leave Twitter for the second time, handing the CEO position to a 10-year veteran at the firm. The 45-year-old entrepreneur, who is often described as an enigma with varied interests from meditation to yoga to fashion design, plans to pursue his passion which include focusing on running Square and doing more philanthropic work, according to a source familiar with his plan.
Well before the surprise news, Dorsey had laid the groundwork for his next chapter, seeding both companies with cryptocurrency-related projects.
Underlying Dorsey’s broader vision is the principle of “decentralisation,” or the idea that technology and finance should not be concentrated among a handful of gatekeepers, as it is now, but should, instead, be steered by the hands of the many, either people or entities.
The concept has played out at Square, which has built a division devoted to working on projects and awarding grants with the aim of growing Bitcoin’s popularity globally. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 44.52 lakh as of 12:50pm IST on December 1.
Dorsey has been a longtime proponent of Bitcoin, and the appeal is that the cryptocurrency will allow for private and secure transactions with the value of Bitcoin unrelated to any government.
The idea has also underpinned new projects at Twitter, where Dorsey tapped a top lieutenant – and now the company’s new CEO Parag Agrawal – to oversee a team that is attempting to construct a decentralised social media protocol, which will allow different social platforms to connect with one another, similar to the way email providers operate.
The project called Bluesky will aim to allow users control over the types of content they see online, removing the “burden” on companies like Twitter to enforce a global policy to fight abuse or misleading information, Dorsey said in 2019 when he announced Bluesky.
Bitcoin has also figured prominently at both of his companies. Square became one of the first public companies to own Bitcoin assets on its balance sheet, having invested $220 million (roughly Rs. 1,650 crore) in the cryptocurrency.
In August, Square created a new business unit called TBD to focus on Bitcoin. The company is also planning to build a hardware wallet for Bitcoin, a Bitcoin mining system, as well as a decentralised Bitcoin exchange.
Twitter allows users to tip their favourite content creators with Bitcoin and has been testing integrations with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of digital asset that allows people to collect unique digital art.
Analysts see the transition as a positive signal for Square, the fintech platform he co-founded in 2009. Square’s core Cash App, after a bull run in its share in 2020, has experienced slower growth in the most recent quarter. It is also trying to digest the $29 billion (roughly Rs. 2,17,240 crore) acquisition of Buy Now Pay Later provider Afterpay, its largest acquisition ever.
But these ambitions will not pay off until years from now, analysts cautioned.
“The blockchain platform they’re trying to develop is great but also fraught with technical challenges and difficult to scale for consumers. I think he’ll focus more on Square and crypto will be part of that,” said Christopher Brendler, an analyst at DA Davidson.
© Thomson Reuters 2021
Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.
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