NAIROBI, Kenya, July 5 – Pan-African software engineering talent startup Andela will now have its employees operate remotely as part of measures taken by the company to survive the coronavirus pandemic that has tampered with normal livelihood across the globe.
The group’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Johnson announced that the move will also see the firm expand its presence in Africa by employing close to 500,000 engineers, in a bid to double its global talent pool.
“The world is beginning to realize that remote work is going to be a major catalyst for the democratization of opportunity,” said Johnson.
“By removing restrictions on location, we will double our pool of potential talent to the roughly 500,000 engineers in Africa who can now leverage Andela to work with top international engineering teams,” he added.
The firm’s plan to expand its footprint in Africa comes two months later after it laid off 135 staff across four countries it operates in, except Kenya and Egypt.
Johnson during that time linked the layoffs to a decline in customers hammered by the outbreak of the coronavirus disease.
“While our customer base has held up better than most, the majority have still been impacted by the economic downturn. Expectations for slow growth necessitate cost-cutting measures to ensure that we make it to the other side,” Andela CEO Jeremy Johnson said.
Last year, the firm reduced its working capacity by 420 junior developers across Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya.
At the time, the company said it was restructuring its talent pool to more closely align with global market demand.
The company then shifted its business focus from being a talent accelerator to a full-on talent outsourcing firm as it began acquiring more senior developers.
“We will hire another 700 experienced engineers by the end of 2020 in order to keep up with demand from our partners,” Jeremy wrote in a blog post at the time.
Prior to being a fully remote organization, Andela operated in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda.
In addition to enabling experienced engineers to build global careers, Andela continues to invest in the Andela Learning community a program that has introduced over 100,000 learners from across the continent to software engineering and is currently accepting applications from all countries in Africa.
Andela launched in 2014 with co-founders who included Nigerian entrepreneur Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and American Christina Sass.
Aboyeji has since departed and Sass stepped down as Andela president in 2019 but maintains an advisory role with the company.