Meta trims Lagos office space after layoffs

Meta, the company behind Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, is trimming down its office space in Lagos.

This follows workforce reductions in mid-2023 that impacted at least 35 Nigerian employees, including the entire engineering team.

Per a TechCabal report, the social media giant said the move is part of a regular review process to optimize its real estate footprint.

The company said it plans to transition to a desk-sharing model for employees who primarily work remotely.

What Meta is saying

While Meta is downplaying the reduction of its office space, it confirms it is no longer using engineers in Nigeria for its operations.

“Engineers continue to serve the region from a number of our global engineering hubs outside of Nigeria,” a company spokesperson told TechCabal via email.

“We regularly review our office spaces to ensure they suit the needs of the business, and the office in Nigeria is no different.

“As we shrink our real estate footprint, we’re transitioning to desk sharing for people who already spend most of their time outside the office,” the company added.

The reduction in team size has prompted the social media giant to begin renegotiating its tenancy agreement for its office space in the 15-story Kings Tower building in Ikoyi, Lagos.

A key part of that renegotiation will be to reduce its office space. Per one publication, Kings Tower has an asking price of $800/sqm/per annum.

Meta’s mixed signals in Nigeria

Although Meta denies any notion of scaling back, this move represents a significant shift for a company that has consistently invested in Nigeria and emphasized its commitment to the West African nation.

In March 2024, Nick Clegg, Meta’s President of Global Affairs, visited Nigeria and announced the introduction of monetization opportunities for creators starting in Q3 2024.

During his visit, he highlighted the global recognition Nigerian creators have achieved using Meta’s platforms.

According to Statista, there are an estimated 43 million Facebook users in Nigeria.

However, Meta lumps African revenue into its “Rest of World” category, making it difficult to assess its performance in Nigeria specifically.

Meta is not the only big tech company making operational changes in Nigeria. Microsoft recently shuttered its African Development Centre and cut over 100 engineering jobs in May 2024.

While the company insists on maintaining a presence in Nigeria, Kenya was chosen for a multi-billion dollar investment in data centres.

What you should know

Before it was officially opened in 2022, Facebook announced the plan to open a Lagos office in September 2020, saying it was part of its ongoing investments in Africa.

According to the company, the office was to be home to several teams across its business including Sales, Partnerships, Policy and Communications. It was also the first office on the continent with a team of engineers.

The opening of the office followed the 2018 opening of NG_Hub, its first community hub space in Africa in partnership with CcHub, and the 2019 opening of its Small Business Group (SBG) Operations Centre in Lagos, in partnership with Teleperformance.



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