Dual Citizen

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All Sorts of Feels :: Mark Zuckerberg in Nigeria

The More You KnowDual Citizen
 Image Source: Techcabal

Image Source: Techcabal

So my feeds are a buzz about the fact that Mark Zuckerberg is/was in Africa, more specifically Nigeria.  The concept initially seemed so foreign to me, I assumed it was some kind of click-bait but further investigation shows that no, he’s really there.  Even going for a jog across Lekki bridge sans security [insert curious emoji here].  

News of Zuckerberg conjures up all kinds of feels.  Excitement.  Hope.  Optimism.  Pride.  Many of us Nigerians believe in the country’s potential and Zuckerbergs visit to various organizations, companies and with President Buhari felt like some kind of validation. According to sources, Zuckerberg was in the West African nation for a few Facebook-related initiatives:

Free Basics: formerly known as Internet.org, Free Basics is an effort by Facebook and a host of other partners to deliver zero-rated internet services to the more than 4 billion people who are still offline.  Though seemingly well-intentioned, the rebranded company has received flack from some, arguing that the content & services available is limited (before prompting for payment) and prevents websites or businesses that are not on the app from getting traffic - how can start ups not on the app compete?  The debate begs the question: should internet be considered a fundamental human right with zero limitations on browsing?

Andela: Created two years ago by Iyin Aboyeji & Jeremy Johnson, Andela is a talent accelerator to give access to coding skills by paying, yes PAYING, some of Africa’s smartest minds to learn to code.  The usual business model caught the attention of GV (formerly Google Ventures) and no other than the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.  Their attention was something to the tune of 24 million. 

Express Wifi: Another initiative by Facebook and local internet service providers to give internet service via hot spots across cities, specifically in more rural areas.  Express Wifi has a similar mission as Free Basics but is not necessarily free, and is more democratic in the fact that you can peruse whatever websites or apps you want.  Not just the ones Zuckerberg & Facebook allows you to.

Even though some are questioning Mark's true motivations for visiting the nation (just look at some of the comments here), I must say a focus on providing internet to the world can be seen in no other way than a benefit. The internet is an integral and fundamental part in everything that we do from connecting with friends and family to sparking creativity and supporting businesses.  Kudos Zuckerberg.  I hope we continue to see Mark in Naija.  I mean, if nothing else, the photo ops have generated press for Nigeria and all press is good press, amiright?  

The Real Story Behind "African" Prints

The More You KnowDual Citizen

We understand the sentiment of "never say 'never'" however there is one phrase you will never see or hear in Dual Citizen land and that is "African Print."  Mainstream & fashion media refer to the often brightly colored fabric as "African Print" or even more cringeworthy, "tribal" but these descriptors ignore the intricate, crossbred cultural background.  We much prefer to call the fabric by its name, Ankara or Wax prints.

Even though Wax prints or Ankara fabrics gained significant popularity initially in West Africa, they actually originated from outside the region.  The beginnings can be traced back to the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) where locals used the technique of wax-resist dying to create a pattern, hence the name Wax prints.  There are a few theories on how the textiles ended up in West Africa but it's where demand was strong and thus became known as "African."   However, when we refer to these fabrics as African, there's a large part of the story missing.  

Since then the print has been become a staple and important piece to the textile and fashion industries in West Africa and beyond.  At once only used for outfits for special occasions, Ankara evolved to be used in everything from earrings to shoes to handbags.  We've seen traces and influences of Ankara fabric in the works of designers like Michael Kors, Stella Jean and on celebrities like Gwen Stefani and Rihanna.  We love the story of Ankara fabric because it represents a merge of cultures and influences - just like Dual Citizen. 

5 Things You Might Not Know About Nigeria

Blog Post, The More You KnowDual Citizen

Most of you know the back story of Dual Citizen - and if you don't, go here and find out!  One of the underlying reasons we started Dual Citizen was to help to bring attention to the beautiful things that are happening in Lagos, Nigeria and really, Africa as a whole and how that fits with what's going on in the US.  There is an amazing fashion world out there and Dual Citizen, in our minds, is just a small part of what's to come.  More on this fashion scene but wanted to take the time to call out 5 facts that you probably didn't know about Nigeria.  To a lot of people, the first thing that comes to mind are internet scams - curses! - but here are a couple other things that should come to mind when you think about Nigeria:

1. 33% of land in Nigeria is arable

This means that 1/3rd of Nigeria's territory is ripe for agriculture.  In fact, agriculture & farming employs about 60% of the population.

2. Nigeria is the third largest English speaking nation in the world behind India and the US.

Combine the facts that Nigeria is a British colony and the massive population - 174 million - it's no surprise that Nigeria trails just behind India and the US as the largest English speaking nation.

3. Nigeria has the 3rd largest movie industry after Bollywood and Hollywood.

Have you heard of Nollywood?  Nollywood is the movie industry of Nigeria and IT. IS. HUGE.  For reals.  Check out the Wiki page.  Nollywood is the largest movie industry in Africa in terms of value and number of films produced.  In 2013 alone, Nollywood generated about $10 billion (USD).  Woahh.

4. 28% of Forbes' 40 richest African entrepreneurs are Nigerian.

In addition to this, Nigeria has the highest rate of young people, who had studied or lived abroad, returning to the country to create industries, disrupt industries and to take advantage of the vast possibilities that are there.  Entrepreneurial spirit definitely runs through Nigerian blood so, we can say: We're born with it.

5. 7th most populous country in the world.

This is probably why Nigeria is nicknamed the "Giant of Africa." As mentioned before, the population of Nigeria is about 174 million - and it's crowded.  This is another reason so many are returning to the country: there's a huge opportunity to be tapped into.  Technology, Telecommunications, Fashion, Infrastructure - you name it and there's probably an area of growth.  

Well folks, there you have it.  5 facts about Nigeria that have NOTHING to do with internet scams :) Of course there's a ton more but we'll leave you with this bite size of information about the "African Giant."

Have a great week everyone.