ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - 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.
Name: Rediet Girma
Organization: Gebeya, Inc.
SOURCE: Gebeya, Inc.