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Silicon Valley acquisition opens up African tech talent to global companies

By , ITWeb
Africa , 14 Jul 2022
Fred Swaniker, Founder and CEO of African Leadership International.
Fred Swaniker, Founder and CEO of African Leadership International.

Business leadership development organisation African Leadership International (ALI) has announced it will acquire Holberton Inc., a Silicon Valley-founded, project-based, college alternative focused on educating the next generation of software engineers, and enable global access to Africa’s software engineering skills pool.

According to a statement released to the media, the acquisition is expected to be completed in Q3 this year and as part of the transaction, the Holberton School network will be separated into an independent organisation.

The deal will give ALI ownership of the advanced technology program and enable it to provide global organisations access to technology skills, especially sought-after software engineering skills.

ALI partnered with Holberton’s advanced technology program two years ago to rapidly scale up the training of software engineers in Africa.

Over the past year, more than 95 000 students have enrolled in African Leadership International’s ALX skills acceleration program, which, according to the company, has scaled over 2 000 times in thelast 15 months.

ALI’s placement division, The ROOM, will be used to match and connect global companies scouting for tech skills. The company said students who have trained using Holberton’s technology have been hired by companies like Apple, Google, Tesla, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Pinterest, Rappi, and Nvidia.

Fred Swaniker, Founder and CEO of African Leadership International, said, “Through our combined efforts to date, we have been able to deliver high quality learning experiences to young Africans at massive scale. This is unlike anything I have experienced in my 20 years of human capital development on the continent. With our current trajectory, I am confident that in the next decade we will develop millions of African digital leaders who can solve many of Africa’s greatest challenges. Our ambition is to become the largest single source of technology talent for the world.”

Julien Barbier, Co-Founder of Holberton, added, “This acquisition will help address the global shortage of technology skills by combining our respective strengths with African talent paving the way. This collaborative, project-based environment makes every student workforce ready after graduating. Our software engineers will empower organizations around the world to rapidly scale their technology talent requirements.”

97 million new roles

According to the World Economic Forum, the pandemic has accelerated the pace of digital disruption in almost all industries, and 97 million new roles will emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms.

“With its aging populations, China, India, and the West – traditional sources of technology talent – are experiencing shortages to meet this new demand,” ALI stated.

The company believes Africa is experiencing rapid population growth. “It has the youngest workforce in the world, with an average age of 19 years, compared to 48 years in Germany or Japan. The continent is expected to have a workforce of 1.1 billion by 2035 – larger than China or India’s. As a result, global technology companies are increasingly seeing the continent as the next frontier for technology talent. Over the past three years, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Alibaba among others, have all announced plans to open tech hubs in Africa,” it added. 

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