• Thursday, July 18, 2024
businessday logo


Meta follows Microsoft’s lead in scaling back Nigerian operations

Elumelu and other potential winners of Meta’s monetisation feature

Meta is following Microsoft’s lead by reducing its presence in Nigeria. The tech giant is scaling back its office space in the country and transitioning to desk sharing for its workers.

This follows a TechCabal report that the tech giant laid off about 35 members of its Nigerian team as part of a global layoff round in mid-2023, which affected over 10,000 workers. The report said the company’s local engineering was the hardest hit.

“Meta engineers continue to serve the region from a number of our global engineering hubs outside of Nigeria,” a company’s spokesperson said in an email to BusinessDay on Thursday.

The company emphasised that this will not impact its continued investment, which includes the recently landed 2Africa subsea cable in Nigeria.

“We’re making focused, balanced investments to support our most strategic long-term priorities and are firmly committed to Nigeria,” the company said. Meta confirmed that it is reviewing its office spaces to suit the “needs of the business, and the office in Nigeria is no different.” It noted that most of its workers already spend most of their time outside the office.

In 2023, Meta announced job cuts in part of Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive officer, called the “year of efficiency,”

Read also: Why Microsoft plans to layoff 1,900 employees

In an email to employees, Zuckerberg said Meta would shed 10,000 jobs over the next few months, targeting middle management, and 5,000 other roles would remain unfilled. “This will be tough, and there’s no way around that. It will mean saying goodbye to talented and passionate colleagues who have been part of our success,” Zuckerberg said.

At the time, Meta did not reveal the number of jobs at risk per region. However, since late 2023, the company has been implementing cost-saving measures, which has reduced its media engagement in Nigeria, for instance.

Nigeria is experiencing a wave of shutdowns or reductions by multinationals, including global tech giants, due to the recent devaluation of the naira and worsening macroeconomic conditions. Recently, Microsoft disclosed that it was shutting down its Africa Development Centre. Based in Lagos, the center was opened in 2022 as part of the firm’s drive to deliver engineering and innovation solutions.

“Microsoft has decided to close the Africa Development Centre in Nigeria, and as a result, some of our employees based in Nigeria will be impacted,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “Organisational and workforce adjustments are a necessary and regular part of managing our business.”

Over 200 jobs are expected to be lost because of the shutdown, and the company is also likely to reduce its office space in Ikoyi.

Due to changing market conditions, these job cuts also follow Microsoft’s decision to increase subscription prices for its 365 Personal plan in Nigeria twice since September 2023. Prices have jumped from N26,999 to N36,999 in September and will further increase to N49,999 as of June 1, 2024, marking an 85.19 percent increase.