Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Reconsiders Plan To Move To Africa, Cites Coronavirus

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is reconsidering his plan to move to Africa for a few months in 2020, due in part to the coronavirus outbreak. Square CEO Jack Dorsey is interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and fintech app Square, says that he is reevaluating his plan to move to Africa in 2020, due in part to the coronavirus outbreak.

Dorsey spent a month visiting Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, and South Africa during November 2019 in a “learning and listening tour”. He later tweeted a plan to return for three-to-six months in 2020.

Dorsey backpedaled on those plans on March 5 while speaking during a Q&A session at Morgan Stanley’s Tech, Media and Telecom Conference in San Francisco, according to CNN.

“With everything happening with the world, particularly coronavirus, I have to reconsider what’s going on and what that means for me and for the company,” Dorsey said.

“Next time we give updates on this, I’ll explain all the ‘whys’ and give much deeper context.”

The deadly coronavirus outbreak has spread to 112 countries. More than 114,000 people are infected with the virus which has accounted for more than 4,000 deaths.

Twitter has joined other large tech firms in suggesting that their employees work from home as a protective measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“I had been working on my plans where I’d work decentralized, as my team and I do when we travel, but in light of Covid-19 and everything else going on I need to reevaluate,” Dorsey said. “Either way we’ll continue to pursue opportunities in Africa.”

At no point during the Q&A did Dorsey mention activist investment firm Elliott Management which has acquired around a 4-percent Twitter stake for $1 billion and wants to oust the founder as CEO.

Elliott Management has concerns regarding Dorsey’s plan to move to Africa and that may have put pressure on the CEO to cancel his plans to move to Africa in an effort to hold onto his leadership position within the company, TheVerge reports.

In addition to Twitter, Dorsey also founded fintech firm Square and is the company’s CEO. 

During his African trip in November, he visited tech incubators, universities, and tech companies, meeting African entrepreneurs and fellow bitcoin and cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

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His return to Africa in 2020 was expected to be tied to this business interest in cryptocurrency following his tweet in November that Africa will define the future, “especially the bitcoin one!”

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.

Dorsey also invested in scaling solution Lightning Labs and has been hiring engineers and designers to work on open-source contributions to the bitcoin ecosystem, Decrypt reports. In 2018, Dorsey started allowing Bitcoin to be traded on Square’s Cash app.