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28 Mar 2022

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Report: 'For their digital economies to grow, African developers need more support.'

Google has released a new and optimistic report about the Africa developer community. Increasingly African nations are migrating their economies to the digital age as record investments are made in African startups. Particularly Nigeria is a success story, according to Google. However, students, junior developers, as well as underrepresented groups, including women, require more support.

16 African markets

The second edition of Google's Africa Developer Ecosystem report includes an analysis of year-over-year growth, key growth indicators, and components of the tech ecosystem. The study was conducted in 16 African markets: Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda.

Growth

COVID-19 has continued to shape both the tech community at large and the nuances of the developer experience, according to the report. In spite of a contracting economy, professional developers make up 0.4% of Africa's nonagricultural workforce. Last year the number of full-time developers also grew, as did their salaries and compensation.

Record investments

The transition of local businesses to the internet across the continent led to an increase in demand for web development and data engineering skills. In 2021, African startups raised over $4 billion, 2.5 times more than in 2020, with fintech startups accounting for over half of this funding. For African developers, remote work has also increased employment opportunities across time zones and continents while allowing them to earn higher salaries. As a result, international companies are now recruiting African developers at an unprecedented rate.

More support needed

In addition, the report notes that students, junior developers, and underrepresented groups, such as women, require more support. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these issues. Without affordable, reliable internet access and equipment, they struggled to make progress last year. This is evident in the gender gap between male and female developers: there are 2.5% fewer women developers compared to 2020.

Better Internet access

Teachers, tech companies, and governments can help developers succeed by improving internet access, education, and business support. In addition to formal and informal education, bootcamps and certifications bridge the gap between traditional education and employment in the future. Global technology companies are investing in digital skill building across Africa in order to improve job readiness and alleviate the tech talent shortage. By investing in both internet access and education, governments can also play a significant role in strengthening the developer pipeline.

Nigeria

According to the report, Nigeria's developer ecosystem is thriving due to strong demand for developer talent, significant support from big tech, and Nigerian startups raising the highest amount of funding on the continent. With 5000 additional developers joining Nigeria's developer population in 2021, Nigeria has the highest number of new developers among all countries surveyed. By transforming their economies, countries like Nigeria will create more opportunities for developers, who in turn will grow the economy.

Photo credit: Daggy J Ali

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