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Andela plans to lays off over 250 engineers in Nigeria, other African countries

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Tech firm and talent accelerator, Andela, has announced that it will lay off over 250 junior engineers across Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria.

Jeremy Johnson, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Andela, made this known Tuesday in a statement titled “The Future of Andela”.

The layoffs come as the company announced its plan to hire another 700 experienced engineers by the end of 2020 in order to keep up with demand from its partners.

To continue creating junior engineering talent at scale, it also said it will invest in the Andela Learning Community, through which it has already trained more than 30,000 learners in software engineering fundamentals.

But despite the huge plan, the company said it has seen shifts in the market and what its customers are looking for in more experienced engineers.

By implication, Andela is letting go over 250 of its contracted junior developers in Lagos and Uganda while up to 170 trainees in Kenya could also be potentially impacted, the company said.

“As a result of that,” the statement said Tuesday, “we began sourcing and assessing mid-level and senior engineers, and they now represent more than 25% of our talent base.

“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.”

Historically, the company said it has viewed its talent supply as being primarily junior with some mid-level and senior engineers. Moving forward, Mr Johnson said, Andela will be shifting its approach to be focused on senior talent, with junior talent layered in on top of it.

He said: “While nuanced, this shift in focus will allow us to better align with what the market needs, and in the process better connect brilliance with opportunity at all levels.

“As part of this shift, we have also had to make an extremely difficult decision as it relates to a number of talented junior engineers. 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.

“The well-being of our employees, both past and present, is our immediate priority. We are providing holistic support programs for those who are affected by this shift, including ongoing access to learning programs and job placement services. We have committed a range of financial and emotional resources to former employees, and those who are leaving will continue to have access to the strongest engineering network on the African continent. Once an Andelan, always an Andelan.”

Founded in 2014, Andela has offices in New York and five African countries including Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Egypt.

The company selects a roster of developers each year who come on staff for a salary and are encouraged to continue working and living in their home markets in Africa.

Before the layoff, Andela had 1575 engineers on board.

The affected software engineers will gain severance packages and placement assistance and Andela is working with partners such as CCHub in Nigeria to connect the developers to new opportunities.

The emergence of the 400 developers may impact Nigeria’s and indeed Africa’s tech space. There are concerns over the availability of opportunities in local tech start-ups in Nigeria and other African countries.

Iyin Aboyeji, a co-founder who left the company in 2016, described the influx of young talent into the ecosystem across Africa as a welcome development.

“Glad that more junior engineering talent will come to the ecosystem. Local companies better scoop up this junior talent and build pipeline with a focus on engineering mentorship and management,” he tweeted via his handle @iaboyeji on Tuesday.

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11 injured, four abducted in Cameroon separatist attack

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At least 11 plantation workers were seriously injured and four others abducted on Monday night by armed separatists in Tiko, a locality in Cameroon’s restive English-speaking region of Southwest, local authorities said on Tuesday.

Four of the injured workers on a rubber plantation of state-owned Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) were rushed to the hospital early Tuesday with life-threatening wounds.

“They (armed separatists) arrived when the workers were about to sleep and assembled them in the yard and started flogging one after another with machetes.

“They chopped off the fingers and hands of some of them. And then abducted four men and left for the bush,” Lygonga Mbonde, one of the unit managers of CDC said.

Separatist groups had vowed on social media to make the English speaking regions of Cameroon ungovernable.

They consider CDC a legitimate target, according to security reports.

The CDC runs banana, palm oil, and rubber plantations in Cameroon’s troubled Southwest and Northwest regions.

In August 2018, the agro-industry said more than 6,000 of its 20,000 workers had fled sporadic attacks, killings and kidnapping from armed separatists.

Cameroon’s English-speaking regions have been hit by a separatist rebellion since 2017.

A national dialogue to end the separatist conflict was held in the country in early October and recommended that a special status should be granted to the two regions.

(Xinhua/NAN)

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Incumbent president, 12 candidates on provisional list for Guinea-Bissau elections

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The Supreme Court of Justice of Guinea-Bissau on Monday published a provisional list of 13 candidates for the November 24 presidential elections, including the incumbent President Jose Vaz.

According to the list, Vaz will run as an independent candidate.

Winning of the legislative elections in March, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) will be represented by former Prime minister Domingos Pereira.

Three other major candidates are Umaro Embalo for the Movement for a Democratic Alternative (Madem G-15), Nuno Gomes Na Biam for the United People’s Assembly – Guinea-Bissau Democratic Party, and former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior as independent candidate.

The six unsuccessful candidates, including the only female candidate Nancy Schwartz, were not validated due to “incomplete files”.

However, they have 48 hours to appeal to the Supreme Court.
However, presidential elections will be held in Guinea-Bissau on Nov. 24 with a second round planned for Dec. 29, if no candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the vote.

Legislative elections held in Guinea-Bissau on March 10.
The African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) won 47 of the 102 seats and remained the largest party.

Although its loss of ten seats resulted in a hung parliament, pre-election agreements with the Assembly of the People United (five seats) and the New Democracy Party (one seat).

The Union for Change (one seat) gave the PAIGC-led coalition a six-seat majority in the National People’s Assembly.

(Xinhua/NAN)

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South Korean justice minister resigns over corruption scandal

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South Korean Justice Minister, Cho Kuk, on Monday resigned over an escalating corruption scandal barely a month after being appointed.

The opposition had accused him of misconduct as his family was being investigated on allegations of questionable financial transactions.

Kuk, 54, said in a statement that he would resign and not be a burden to President Moon Jae-In who had appointed him in September. Jae-In accepted his resignation.

Jae-In, however, apologised for causing national discord over Kuk’s appointment.

Earlier, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets to demand Kuk’s dismissal as well as Jae-In’s resignation.

Kuk’s family was being investigated on suspicion of investing in a holding company suspected of involvement in market manipulation and illegal transactions.

Liberal groups had spoken in support of Kuk as the architect of Jae-In’s plans to reform the National Prosecutor’s office, however, conservatives considered him unqualified for the position.

(dpa/NAN)

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