Hefty Digital Service Tax Probably Scared Off Twitter From Setting Up African Office in Kenya

However, Kenya could probably have been skipped because it has been ramping up taxes on digital services, including hefty taxes for foreign tech companies as detailed in the VAT Digital Marketplace Supply Regulations, 2020.

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Twitter has set its headquarters in Ghana. This is not news, but many people were thinking that the social media giant would have settled in other countries besides Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria being some of the thought candidates.

“Today, in line with our growth strategy, we’re excited to announce that we are now actively building a team in Ghana. To truly serve the public conversation, we must be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the African continent,” said Twitter in a statement.

This development has sent many tongues wagging on the platform, with many speculations as to why Twitter skipped the said counties, among others such as Egypt and South Africa – all of which are have millions of users that use the platform actively.


Ghana’s entry is interesting too and controversial and for good reason; the company, for instance, will be hiring new people to join product, design, engineering, marketing and communication teams.

The first three are mostly technical, and usually look for engineers and developers.

Now, Twitter says that it chose the West African state because it meets criteria such as the availability of talent. It also plants to invest in the state’s local communities.

“Whenever we enter new markets, we work hard to ensure that we are not just investing in the talent that we hire, but also investing in local communities and the social fabric that supports them,” adds Twitter.

However, Ghana contributes only 2 percent of professional developers in Africa with only 15,000 developers.

Country Professional devs % total f Africa
South Africa120K17%
Egypt85K12%
Morocco45K7%
Nigeria85K12%
Kenya60K9%
Ghana15K2%
Rwanda5K1%
Ethiopia20K3%
Tanzania15K2%
Uganda10K2%
Ivory Coast10K2%
Rest of Africa220K32%
Total690K100%

As seen, SA, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya lead the pack – all of which were skipped.

Twitter also adds that Ghana is a champion for online freedom.

“As a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate,” adds the platform.

The same can be said for the majority of the top contenders for Twitter’s Africa HQ.

However, Kenya could probably have been skipped because it has been ramping up taxes on digital services, including hefty taxes for foreign tech companies as detailed in the VAT Digital Marketplace Supply Regulations, 2020.


At one time, the US arm-twisted Kenya to adjust its taxation regulations, particularly for American companies. The US did not want Kenya taxing digital products. However, it would appear that the issue was never resolved.

Of course, there are other matters not to us (such deals are completed behind closed doors), but it is likely the taxes scared off Twitter from setting shop in Kenya.