Nigerian software development training firm Andela has partnered with Rwanda's Ministry of ICT and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to establish a pan-African tech hub in Kigali, the Kigali Technology Campus.
Andela made headlines in 2016 after having received US$24 million backing from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Clare Akamanzi, CEO of Rwanda Development Board, said, "We welcome Andela to our investment community. Andela will train and employ up to 500 Rwandan software developers in 5 years, generate up to $30m exports of IT services and attract regional developers while establishing its Pan-African hub here... (a) huge step towards knowledge economy."
The hub will be open to candidates from across Africa with the first group of developers expected in August 2018, ahead of the official Campus opening in December.
Jeremy Johnson, Andela co-founder and CEO said Kigali is a good choice for Andela's first Pan-African hub due to its strong existing infrastructure, technological excellence and ease of access for developers across the continent.
"Our partnership with the government of Rwanda is a new model for Andela, and we are thrilled to have found a partner whose mission is so closely aligned with our own - to grow and sustain a Pan-African elite tech workforce. In Kigali, we have found a location that makes travel to-and-from other African countries seamless and also has the modern and connected infrastructure we require to collaborate with a global workforce," said Johnson.
Andela launched its operations in Nigeria in 2014 and says it has trained 700 software engineers across the continent who now work for technology teams in 150 global companies, including Viacom, Pluralsight and GitHub.
Lambert Ntagwabira, Senior Technologist for ICT Skills Development in Rwanda's Ministry of Youth and ICT said Andela "will be a good fit" and contribute to the implementation of the Ministry's digital talent policy.
According to the policy, all employees in the civil service and workers at government-owned companies must undergo training and certification with globally accepted digital literacy providers.
Andela's move comes weeks after an Investor Perceptions Survey, released by the World Bank Group and the Rwanda Development Board, specified that 79% of investors cite the quality of labor as a limitation for their operations in the country.
Akamanzi hopes the partnership with Andela will help to build the next generation of technology leaders who will lead innovation in Kigali and beyond.