Africa is emerging as a region with great potential for sourcing software developers. Tech giants such as Google and Microsoft invest heavily to welcome African tech talent into their ecosystems. Impact start-up Tunga aims to unlock the African talent pool to Western companies struggling to find qualified software developers.
Tunga was established in 2015 as a partnership between Dutch social entrepreneur Ernesto Spruyt and not-for-profit organisation Butterfly Works. Spruyt: “African software engineers are a great alternative for those hard to find Western tech professionals. We work with motivated local developers in areas with high unemployment rates and hone their skills so they become top quality tech experts. Other advantages? English is usually their first language, Lagos is in the same time zone as Europe, the speed of deployment is high and continuity is an advantage as well. Moreover, the hourly rates are obviously much lower than those in Europe and America.”
Kampala, Uganda is home to Tunga’s first office in Africa. Tunga has a pool of almost 350 African techies, the majority from Uganda, Egypt and Nigeria.
Spruyt: “We started working with Nigerian developers in 2016. By now, many of our African developers are from Nigeria. This is hardly surprising as Nigeria comes a close second after South Africa in terms of the number of trained developers while wages are much lower. So, Tunga continues to invest here in training young African techies to become medior and senior developers.” He adds: “That why, in order to service our community in a better way, we decided to open an office in Lagos. We found a great place in the coworking venue ‘The Village’, in the tech district of Yaba. The venue focuses on technology, innovation and creativity. Our local developers love it as a place to work and share knowledge. It is expected that the office will soon grow into a full-service operational centre, with project and community managers like we have in Kampala. We consider opening another office in Lekki, on the other side of Lagos, to help our people avoid the challenging traffic of the city of Lagos.”
Tunga was founded based on the proven concept that software developers can successfully work remotely from different locations around the globe. For instance, a developer in Amsterdam can work jointly on a project with a developer in Cairo or Nigeria. The social benefit is that Tunga creates interesting, challenging work where knowledge transfer takes place – both technically and in terms of soft skills. Tunga realizes the connection with the international market, expansion of career possibilities and in general, they provide the tools and environment for the development of a local tech culture. At the same time, on a micro-level, working remotely improves safety and means less time and money is spent on commuting.
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