Rwanda unaffected as Andela lays off staff

Some of the Andela’s trainees from Rwanda. The company says its restructuring will not affect Rwanda. Courtesy.

No Rwandans will be affected by the restructuring and consequent lay off by Andela, a leading technology training and job placement firm.

The firm entered the local market in 2018 after cabinet approval and the signing of an MOU on the establishment of a Pan-African tech hub.

In a statement by Jeremy Johnson, the Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Andela, said that as part of a restructuring exercise to be fit for purpose in line with their clients, they would ‘be releasing approximately 250 Andelans in Nigeria and Uganda, with an additional 170 potentially impacted in Kenya.’

However, officials of the firm said that no Rwandans will be affected in the restructuring.

The MOU with the government will also remain unaffected.

“The recent strategic shift at Andela does not alter the MOU that we signed with the Rwanda govt. In fact, moving forward, we will be focusing our junior engineer training efforts on our pan-African hub in Rwanda,” Clement Uwajeneza, the Country Director at Andela Kigali told Business Times. 

The shift, the company said, was necessitated by a demand for senior developers by their clients which has made it a challenge keeping junior developers on their team.

“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.”

“Going forward, we will hire another 700 experienced engineers by the end of 2020 in order to keep up with demand from our partners,” Johnson’s statement said.

The firm also noted that they are seeking to intensify their training in Rwanda as part of responding to market demands.

For the employees to be laid off, the form said that they were putting in place support programmes such as learning and job placement services to ensure a smooth transition.

“We have identified over 60 companies who are looking to hire top quality junior engineering talent,” the statement said.

According to the agreement signed with the government last year, Andela committed to recruit and train up to 500 Rwandans with expertise in software development and offer them six months paid training.

Trainees are expected to receive over 900 skill checkpoints enabling them to be competitive across the world.  Thereafter, Andela is expected offer the new trainees jobs as remote members of software development teams at world leading firms.

In the training phase of the 500 software developers, the firm said that they expect to incur between $15,000 and $20,000 each, raising its market entry outlay to between $7.5 million and to $10 million.

The firm in January this year announced that it had raised $100 million funding through its fourth round seed stage financing, also known as Series D funding.

The money was raised through a venture capital drive that was led by UK-based firm, Generation Investment Management.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com