Viber, one of the leading messaging and calling apps with more than 664 million unique users worldwide, announced today that it has opened its latest social channel ‘Public Chats’ to partners in Africa and the Middle East. Brands, organizations, celebrities, public figures and social influencers from these countries can now join Viber’s global platform to reach a local and regional audience.Public Chats are live discussions that Viber users can follow, like and share with their community. Released in beta version in November 2014 with select global partners, this feature offers a new kind of social experience — tapping into live conversations from celebrities, personalities, brands and organizations. Mobile users can discover new communities, follow interactive chats in real-time and share original pieces of content with friends and contacts.“The Middle East and Africa are important markets for Viber, and we are pleased to welcome local influencers and brands to our Public Chats platform,” said Mark Hardy, CMO, Viber. “We are sure they will enjoy chatting,commenting and debating live on this active social channel whilst sharing tips, news, and local content to our constantly connected mobile audience across the region.”Selected partners in Africa and the Middle East, at Pan-African level and in key markets such asSouthAfrica, Kenya, Nigeria,Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Egypt, have joined Public Chats for this regional launch in a bid to be the first players to offer local conversations on Viber. A frican users can now start to follow them from the Viber Public Chats explore page. Super star of African Music, Youssou NDour, the internationally acclaimed Senegalese singer and composer just joined Viber Public Chats.“The Viber Public Chatschannel will enable my fans to follow in real time mymusic and artistic activities; it will also represent an opportunity for me to engage in discussions designed to forge a peaceful and open world.”Jumia, the leading ecommerce platform in Africa, recently opened Public Chats in Egypt and Nigeria and were one of the first partners to join this new social channel in the Middle East and Africa.