African developers who partnered with Facebook to launch products at F8 include Afrinolly (Entertainment, Nigeria), GumTree South Africa (Classifieds, South Africa), vZikoko (Entertainment, Nigeria), Jobberman (Jobs, Nigeria/Ghana), The Net (Entertainment, Nigeria) and My Music (Media, Nigeria).
Two developer teams from Malawi won a developer challenge supported by mobile operator TNM Malawi and Facebook, and were featured on F8’s international stage.
Maternitech, founded by three 22-year olds – Walter Moyo, Thandie Magasa, and Daniel Mvalo – provides educational information aimed at combating Malawi’s high under-18 pregnancy rate. The team was featured in an international livestream interview.
Talk To Me, an app that converts input text into voice so children always have someone to talk to, was created by 10-year old Panashe Jere who learned to code at a Coding for Kids session at Malawi Hub.
Both teams were congratulated by Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg personally for their achievements.
Facebook, with its global reach and scale, is including African developers in its beta testing programme for the launch of new global products and features as it increases its presence and deepens its partnerships on the continent.
“We believe that local entrepreneurs and developers will be the ones to meet the needs of their immediate community, and we are working with developers to know how we can support them in doing so,” says Emeka Afigbo, Strategic Product Partnerships Manager at Facebook.
He added, “We are listening to our developer partners in Africa, and the strong showing for F8 is a reflection of our commitment to doing more with our partners across the continent to help them build products and businesses.”
The F8 developer conference took place in San Francisco on 12 and 13 April. More than 2,600 people were present and hundreds of thousands of people watched via Facebook Live for two days of new products, tools, interactive demos and speakers to help developers build, grow and monetize their apps.
In addition, Facebook brought F8 to developers around the world through F8 Meetups hosted with tech hubs around the world. In Africa, F8 Meetups held in Nairobi, Lagos, Cape Town and Morocco where participants watched the sessions in San Francisco.