Bad news for African tech as Andela offloads over 250 software engineers

Within the African tech arena, Andela stands out.

It has raised a pool of African software engineers to help companies solve the technical talent shortage and build high-performing distributed engineering teams.

This has helped in no small way in helping address the STEM needs of Africa – home to the world’s largest population of under-30s and host to at least 7 of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world.

That’s the good news; now the bad news.

Andela says it will downsize its engineer personnel by letting go of 250 engineers in Nigeria and Uganda, while 170 others will be laid off in Kenya.

The company had over the years sourced and assessed mid-level and senior engineers – who now represent more than 25% of its talent base.


But Jeremy Johnson, CEO and Co-Founder of Andela in his blog post titled ‘The Future of Andela,’ says some errors were made in terms of personnel recruitment and staffing.

While placing teams led by senior engineers has helped drive additional junior placement, it hasn’t been enough. We now have significantly more junior talent than we are able to place. Just as important, those junior engineers want, and deserve, authentic work experience that we are not able to provide. As a result, we’ve come to the conclusion that Andela’s next phase of growth requires a strategic shift in how we think about talent.”

He said Andela had viewed its talent supply as being primarily junior with some mid-level and senior engineers.

Unfortunately, this led to the hiring of an uneven number of talented junior engineers compared to senior ones.

But Johnson says the tech giant now has a new approach.

Today, we are announcing that we are closing the D0 program in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda. Moving forward, we will be focusing D0 training efforts on our pan-African hub in Rwanda. In addition, we will be letting go of approximately 250 Andelans in Nigeria and Uganda, with an additional 170 potentially impacted in Kenya, who we don’t believe we’ll be able to find meaningful work for over the next year.”

Escape route

Fortunately, there is a silver lining for impacted engineers as Andela will partner withCcHUB in Nigeria, iHub in Kenya, and Innovation Village in Uganda to help connect the impacted developers with opportunities in their local ecosystem.

Over 60 companies who are looking to hire top quality junior engineering talent have been identified; meaning these hubs will offer impacted engineers the opportunity to use their co-working spaces free of charge for the next three months. 

Going forward

With a new emphasis on experienced, Andela will hire another 700 senior engineers by the end of 2020 in order to keep up with demand from our partners.

Investment in the Andela Learning Community made of junior engineers will continue.

It is without a doubt that the tech start-up space is a tough one, but it is hoped that the pool of already trained African engineers will sustain the rapid expansion of technology space of the continent.

Africa cannot afford to be left behind as the fourth Industrial revolution continues to unravel.