Interview: Inside American Tech Firm, Andela, Plan To Make Rwanda Africa’s Hub Of World-Class Software Developers
November 11, 2018
In October 2018, Clement Uwajeneza, Rwandan technologist and Chairman of the Chamber of ICT within the Private Sector Federation (PSF), was appointed as Country Director for Andela, a Pan-African Technology company with a vision to develop and employ over 100, 000 software developers in Africa over 10 Years. In July 2018, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) said Andela had officially registered in Rwanda with initial plans of developing and employing between 500 and 1000 software developers within the next five years. Uwajeneza takes Taarifa into his ambitious plan.
Below are excerpts.
Andela has come at a time when a lot of innovation are happening within the Rwandan tech-ecosystem. What will be your value addition?
Andela is coming to add value and enhance that innovation ecosystem by developing and creating a pool of world class software developers who will support companies that are already playing an active role in this space. Someone has a good app, well-built, with a huge opportunity to solve certain problems; but the environment to scale-up is locked down; maybe, this person is not exposed to how they could commercialise, who to approach, or if it means scaling the technology, in terms of global standards. Andela is here, in part, to unlock that potential.
Apart from that, could you tell us the background of Andela’s intention in Rwanda and Africa in general?
As we enter the digital revolution and the fourth industrial revolution that is based on digital transformation, one of the biggest shortages we have today is the unavailability of world-class software engineers. The gap worldwide, mostly developed countries, is about 1.5 million people – software engineers, who are needed on the market. Now, on another hand where do you have the biggest pool of talent that is not utilized? – it is Africa with 1.2 billion people, majority young people, and seeking jobs but not accessing the actual learning and exposure to the learning content that gets them to become world-class software engineers. Now Andela has given itself a mission to develop the next generation of software engineers in Africa so to enable Africa to contribute and to participate within that talent shortage. But in the process also, to build the next technology leaders within Africa who start by contributing to the current and future digital products today but acquire the actual skills that are needed to build technology products – not just apps, but also the soft skills that are required to really understand problems and get to find and identify solutions before even developing the app itself. The soft skills that are required to go through that process.
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