Three years after opening up shop in Lagos, Andela, a startup that trains and pairs software developers with global tech firms, will be launching in Uganda—its third African country.
Andela says it considered every Anglophone country in Africa with a population of more than three million people and conducted test recruitment exercises in several of those countries. Eventually, the choice of Uganda was based on the country’s teeming youth, says Jeremy Johnson, Andela CEO.
“Uganda is the second youngest country in the world, with 70% of the people aged under 25,” Johnson tells Quartz. While conducting test recruitment, Johnson says Andela received 800 applications with the average age of applicants being 25. Already open in Lagos and Nairobi, Johnson says Andela has received applications from over a dozen countries across the continent. “Being able to accept applicants who are able to work in their home country is important to us,” he tells Quartz.
Founded in 2014 with corporate headquarters in New York, Andela trains software developers for six months and then deploys them to tech companies around the world that need their skills. It places a high premium on vetting and has received over 60,000 applications since launch but only 0.7% of those have been accepted. Johnson says the company will keep expanding and scaling up in countries where it already operates. In January, Andela moved to a new five-story office in Lagos as the company’s personnel had outgrown the old space.
By connecting African developers to global opportunities and new career paths, Andela and other developer training schools and programs could possibly play a role in solving the unemployment problem prevalent in many African countries. But Johnson says the company’s work will not be a quick fix. “I don’t think we can fundamentally solve the issue but I can think we can create an example that others can look to and say ‘this is possible’.”
Andela was backed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative which led a $24 million Series B round last June. Johnson says it’s growing at a rate of over 100% annually and hopes to continue expanding to a new country every year.
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