Africa’s Fastest Growing Internet Economy Needs More Software Developers – Quartz


A report by the World Bank’s IFC and Google said that Africa could add 180 billion or 5.2% of total GDP by 2025. In 2012, the continent’s Internet economy (iGDP) was estimated at only $ 30 billion, or 1.1% of its GDP.

Accenture says that this year iGDP will contribute $ 115 billion, or 4.5% of the 2.554 trillion GDP. The Internet economy in the US contributed about 9% of GDP in 2018.

The key to developing an Internet economy – which includes everything from banks and fintech to agritech, e-health, and venture capital – will be to grow developer talent to develop the products and engines on which it operates. Last year, the French-chief executive of pan-African e-commerce company Jumia raised resentment in African tech circles when he suggested that there were not enough developers in Africa to meet his company’s needs.

Women currently own 21% of developers in African countries, with only 15% of junior developers in the US.

The IFC / Google report states that there are over 700,000 professional developers in Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa in more than five African markets across Africa. The number is still relatively low compared to Africa’s 1.3 billion people – California alone has 630,000 developers while Latin America has 2.2 million.

But Africa’s developer talent is smaller than in more advanced economies and overall numbers on the continent are growing rapidly. Only a third of them receive their training through universities, more than half pay for either self-taught or online school programs, acquiring skills for future employment and entrepreneurship in countries with few existing formal jobs Speaking for the desire and broad ambition, but also the lack of digital skills.

It is easy to see why young African undergraduates or recent graduates may be self-taught or out of pocket for additional skills. For example, computer science courses at Kenyan universities still primarily teach C ++, “although Java and Scala are the largest in-demand programming languages ​​in the market.”

A lot of developer talent falls into the “junior developer” category to date which presents its challenges as a Lagos-based Andela when it had to recruit more experienced talent to supply customers in the US and other markets. In African countries with smaller and more nascent developer populations, 43% of developers have only one to three years of experience, compared to 22% in the US. “

The report states that coding classes are increasing software development training. Young companies including Decagon (Nigeria), Gabeya (Ethiopia) and Moringa School (Kenya) have picked up where Andila has focused on training young developers with flexible learning and bootcamp-like experiences.

To help plug the developer skills gaps, Google itself launched a program in 2017, coaching over 100,000 developers over five years. Last year Microsoft said it would spend more than $ 100 million on the initiative of a software development center in Africa, with its first development centers in Africa opening in Lagos and Nairobi.

Also another notable positive in the fast-growing talent pool is that the report has been described as “real traction” with the number of female developers in African markets growing led by Egypt, Morocco and South Africa. Women currently own 21% of developers in African countries, with only 15% of junior developers in the US.

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