Amidst bustling Addis
Ababa, a revolution in homegrown Ethiopian software is brewing. Gebeya
believes it can supply talent and be the solution for the African information
technology industry. It has been two years since its software developers are
being outsourced to companies, both locally and abroad, with over 400
developers on the books.
Africa is a growing market with severe lacks in software engineering. Kenya,
Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt have foundations in STEM subjects but most
African countries are bereft of academic know-how and importing expert
knowledge is very expensive. There are many companies, both within Ethiopia
and abroad, which invariably hit a wall regarding talent as they attempt to
consolidate their technology.
“Gebeya’s graduates are shapers in building Ethiopia and Africa’s tech
capacity,” Co-founder Hiruy Amanuel said. While a lot of great African talents
get poached and end up working in the U.S. or Europe, that is not conducive to
building the tech ecosystem of the actual continent. If Africa doesn’t develop
internal tech capacity, then the other economic sectors will have a hard time
digitizing and innovating properly.”
Ethiopia has a considerable stream of science and technology graduates who
lack the specialization for software work at international standards. Therein
steps Gebeya, with training lasting from four to six months, finessing these
students’ knowledge and producing software engineers ready for the industry.
Instead of lecturing, senior industry specialists guide Gebeya aspirants in
the development of a product from beginning to end, apt to hit the market. The
Ethiopian government believes in Gebeya’s potential as a catalyst for economic
growth; a memorandum of understanding was signed to pave the way for the
training of 5000 developers over five years. Gebeya is stressing artificial
intelligence and blockchain training – two areas which are defining
technology. A $500,000 fund from the International Finance Corporation to
train 250 women is setting the standard for gender opportunity in technology.
Nationally, Gebeya has five contracts with Ethiopian Airlines. Abroad, it has
secured a contract with French telecom titan Orange in Senegal. Currently, it
outsources software engineers to Sonatel. In the United States, Gebeya
developers are working in New York-based solar company d.Light. Interest from
Nigeria promises new possibilities.
Gebeya alumni are also starting their own firms. Across from Gebeya are the
offices of Qene Technologies, a 3D gaming company famous for much downloaded
Kukulu, Africa’s most successful game of its kind. Gebeya supported this
venture, positioning itself as incubator and accelerator towards bringing
alumni’s dreams into the world.
Last summer, Gebeya made strides when it acquired Coders4Africa (C4A), a
non-profit that is leveraging funds from development finance institutions to
train coders. Its offices in Africa and North America give Gebeya access to
3,500 developers; a short course and these talents are ready to fulfill
Gebeya’s engineering contracts.
Gebeya is enhancing the local economy: outsourcing brings a flow of foreign
currency, and their force receives more than the national average salary. The
future is promising as CEO Amadou Daffe and Director of Operations Bekure
Tamirat chart a growth plan for the next four years to build Africa’s IT
Industry . It includes raising capital, aiming at expanding their managerial
team and funding expansion in Senegal and beyond…