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Facebook to target Nigerian learners with educational app Sabee, created by its R&D team – TechCrunch

Last fall, Facebook announced it was opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria, which would provide the company with a hub in the region and the first office on the continent staffed with a team of engineers. We’ve now spotted one of the first products to emerge from this office: Seabee’s education-focused mobile app, which means “to know” in Nigerian Pidgin. The app aims to connect learners and educators in online communities to make educational opportunities more accessible.

The app was briefly published to Google Play by “NPE Team,” the internal R&D group at Facebook, typically focusing on new social experiences in areas like dating, audio, music, video, messaging, and more. While the learnings from the NPE Team’s apps sometimes inform broader Facebook efforts, the group hasn’t yet produced an app that has graduated to become a standalone Facebook product. Many of its earlier apps have also shut down, including (somewhat sadly) the online zine creator Eg.g, video app Hobby, calling app CatchUp, friend-finder Bump, podcast community app Venue, and several others.

See, however, represents a new direction for the NPE Team, as it’s not about building yet another social experiment. Instead, Seabee is tied to Facebook’s larger strategy of serving the African continent, starting with Nigeria. This is a strategic move, informed by data that indicates a more significant majority of the world’s population will be in urban centers by 2030. Much of that will be on the African continent and throughout the Middle East. By 2100, Africa’s population is expected to have tripled, with Nigeria becoming the second-most populated country in the world, behind China.

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