Dorsey spent time in Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa during his trip, bringing four other Twitter executives with him.
In addition to Twitter, Dorsey is the co-founder and CEO of financial technology startup Square, which provides payments hardware and software to small businesses.
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Here are 10 things Twitter CEO Dorsey did during his trip to Africa.
On Nov. 8, Dorsey met with some entrepreneurs at the Co-Creation Hub, a technology innovation center in Lagos, where he had a question and answer session in which he shared his experiences as a tech entrepreneur, specifically what it took to build both Twitter and Square. In October 2019, Co-creation Hub acquired Kenya’s iHub for an undisclosed amount, bringing together two of the most recognizable tech hubs in Africa, according to a press release.
Dorsey’s Nigerian trip included a visit to the Lagos offices of New York-based Andela — a recruiter of African tech talent. The Twitter CEO met with many developers from the company during his visit on Nov. 8. Andela raised a $100 million Series-D round in January, bringing its total investment to date to $181 million, according to Crunchbase.
Dorsey was kept busy during the first part of his African trip in Nigeria, and on Nov. 8, along with visits to Andela and Co-Creation Hub, Dorsey and his team also visited the University of Lagos where he took questions from students and staff members. A few days later, on Nov. 11, Dorsey visited his second Nigerian university, the Africa University of Science and Technology in Abuja, where he gave students the opportunity to ask him questions, according to Weetracker.
Dorsey is a bitcoin and cryptocurrency enthusiast and, staying true to his promise to meet with entrepreneurs while in Africa, he met with groups of crypto entrepreneurs in Nigeria and Ghana. One of those meetings took place in Ghana on Nov. 11, and Dorsey tweeted on his platform about what he described as a “Mini bitcoin Ghana meetup” alongside founder and CEO of crypto waller startup Bit Sika, Atsu Davoh (center in the tweet below). Dorsey has long been a cryptocurrency advocate. In October 2019, he invested in CoinList — a company that helps digital asset companies manage their token sales.
On Nov. 13, Dorsey took time out of the tech and entrepreneur-related events on his schedule to visit Cape Coast Castle and reflect on the legacy of slavery. He tweeted a photo of the plaque that was placed just outside the entrance to the male slave dungeon at Cape Coast Castle, one of many castles built on the coast where slaves were imprisoned before they were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to North America. The plaque serves as a reminder to prevent another tragedy like slavery from ever happening again, according to CultureTrip.
After his time spent in Nigeria and Ghana, Dorsey traveled to South Africa on Nov. 14 where he visited the Dhamma Pataka Vipassana meditation center in Worcester in the Western Cape to meditate for 10 days. Vipassana meditation, an ancient Indian technique, involves the removal of all devices and contact with the outside world for 10 days and sitting in “noble silence” for around 10 hours each day in a secluded environment, according to Times of India.
After his meditation retreat in South Africa, Dorsey was off to Ethiopia and one of his first visits was to the Addis Ababa-based Lebawi International Academy, an academic institution focused on developing the next generation of African and Ethiopian leaders. The Lebawi International Academy works to change the negative stereotype of Ethiopia and Africa as a place where knowledge is only consumed, and not created, according to the academy’s website. Dorsey took questions from the students at the academy and was impressed with the “sophistication” of their questions.
Dorsey has previously met with Betelhem Dessie and Noel Daniel in San Francisco and he took time out of his schedule while in Addis Ababa to meet with the two individuals he described as “amazing” in a tweet. Dessie is a project manager at iCog Labs, a team of software professionals dedicated to advancing the artificial intelligence research and applications in Ethiopia, and Daniel is the co-founder and managing partner at Kudu Ventures, a New York-based venture capital firm with investment interests in Ethiopia including a partnership with iCog Labs involving an initiative to provide seed support for tech startups, Weetracker reports.
On Nov. 27, the day Dorsey ended his trip to Africa, he paid a visit to iceaddis, which claims to be Ethiopia’s first innovation hub and tech incubator. Established in 2011, iceaddis offers support to tech entrepreneurs. Dorsey met with entrepreneurs at the incubator who were excited about his visit and the fact that Ethiopia was chosen as one of the countries on his itinerary. The Twitter CEO also visited an agritech youth incubator called blueMoon Ethiopia where a selection of founders pitched their agricultural tech ideas. Finally, Dorsey held another bitcoin and blockchain meetup with fellow crypto enthusiasts in Addis Ababa.
During the Nigerian leg of his trip, Dorsey said that he intends to return to Africa in 2020, but for a longer period to get a good perspective of what it is like to be an entrepreneur in Africa. Dorsey did not clarify exactly when he would return or where in Africa he would live, saying that he would spend three to six months in Africa. At the end of his Africa trip while leaving Ethiopia to return to the U.S., he confirmed his intention to return to Africa for an extended stay with a parting tweet on Nov. 27.
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