F8 hosts more than 4000 people in person and hundreds of thousands of people watching via Facebook Live for two days of new products, tools, interactive demos and speakers to help developers build, grow and monetise their apps.
This year, Facebook brought F8 to developers around the world through F8 Meetups hosted with tech hubs around the world. In Africa, it hosted F8 Meetups in Nairobi, Lagos, and Cape Town, where participants watched live streams of the sessions in San Francisco.
“We’re partnering with many African developers to launch products that not only meet the needs of their local markets, but which are also ready for the world stage,” says Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Head of Platform Partnerships for the Middle East and Africa. “Events like F8 are a perfect opportunity for us to talk about how we will work with partners to do more with our platforms. As importantly, they are a forum for us to get feedback from our ecosystem and to showcase our partners’ work to the world.”
In attendance were two representatives each from the winners of Internet.org’s Innovation Challenge in Africa awards. These awards from Facebook’s Internet.org recognised leading examples of ideas, apps, websites and/or online services that provide real value in the categories of education and economic empowerment.
Facebook also invited four graduate students from Carnegie Melon University Africa in Rwanda to attend after they won the CMU-Africa Messenger Bot Hackathon.
The university’s Aimable Rwema and Lenah Chacha developed BiasharaBot, which provides a platform for merchants and buyers to connect. “The Hackathon showed me the importance of building a business or idea on a social media platform. Facebook is used by over a billion people worldwide, offering developers a huge market,” says Rwema.
Their fellow students, Joshua Ocero and Davy Uwizera, created a farmbot that connects farmers (or cooperatives) with produce buyers.
“Attending F8 is a great opportunity to mingle with Facebook developers from around the world. It is an opportunity to visit Silicon Valley, where people’s dreams become reality,” says Ocero.
A new programme for developers all over the world to connect, learn, and collaborate with other local developers was also announced. Developer Circles is a community-driven program that's free to join and open to any developer.
Each Developer Circle is led by members of the local community who act as leads for the circle, organising events offline and managing a local online Facebook community. Developer Circles are forums to share knowledge, collaborate, build new ideas and learn about the latest technologies from Facebook and other industry leaders. Lagos, Nigeria was the first place that Facebook piloted this global progamme.