Company Finds, Trains Technology Workers in Africa

16 July, 2016

A new Nigerian technology company plans to produce some of the best software developers in the world.

The company is based in Lagos. It is called Andela. It performs work for large companies, most of which are in the United States. At the same time, it trains software developers. The training period is four years. During that time, Andela teaches workers programming languages and skills.

"Our goal is to basically train 100,000 software developers who are world class, in Africa, over the next 10 years," said Seni Sulyman. He is the company's director of operations.

Andela fellows work on projects at the company's office on June 30, 2016 in Lagos, Nigeria. (Photo: Chris Stein for VOA)
Andela fellows work on projects at the company's office on June 30, 2016 in Lagos, Nigeria. (Photo: Chris Stein for VOA)

Sulyman says after the developers train at Andela, they can work for major tech companies such as IBM and Microsoft.

Recently, several groups showed their support for Andela by investing $24 million in the company.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was one of the investors. That group -- created by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan -- issued a statement praising Andela. The statement said Andela's "innovative model of learning" was one of the reasons the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invested in the company.

Others have also praised Andela for providing high-quality training. Bankole Oluwafemi is the editor of a technology news website. He said Andela is different from other technology companies in Africa because it focuses on education.

"Andela is kind of like, attack that problem, and they're kind of like, unique in that they're one of the first, if not the first, to attack that problem at scale, the problem of education," he said.

Seni Sulyman says the company hopes to use the money it recently received to increase the number of workers it recruits.

Andela hires only about 12 new people every three months. It chooses them from about 3,000 to 5,000 applications.

Sulyman said Andela would also like to find more companies to complete projects for, and to expand into a third country in Africa. Andela now works in Nigeria and Kenya.

Sulyman noted the recent investment of $24 million seems like a lot of money. But, he said, Andela has so many things it wants to do that he's sure the company will figure out ways to spend it.

I'm Christopher Jones-Cruise.

Correspondent Chris Stein reported this story from Lagos, Nigeria. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the report for Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

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Words in This Story

world class – adj. among the best in the world

focus – v. to direct your attention or effort at something specific (often + on)

scale – n. the size or level of something especially in comparison to something else

hire – v. to give work or a job to (someone) in exchange for wages or a salary (chiefly US)