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Microsoft and Gebeya: The Promise of a Technological Revolution Includes Mozambique

Microsoft and Gebeya: The Promise of a Technological Revolution Includes Mozambique

US technology giant Microsoft has decided to team up with Gebeya, an online SaaS technology talent platform based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to train 300,000 software developers in Mozambique and seven other African countries. What transformations can be expected with the realisation of this initiative?

Microsoft and Gebeya, the leading pan-African online marketplace for SaaS-enabled technology talent (Software as a Service, a way of making software and technology solutions available as a service on the Internet), have partnered to launch a new platform. The solution aims to connect people with skills and jobs and is available at www.microsoft.gebeya.com. The collaboration seeks to play an important role in filling the technology skills gap in Africa, promoting job creation and entrepreneurship and training the continent’s young people.

The initiative’s main objective is to develop the skills of 300,000 programmers in eight African countries, including Mozambique, over the next three years. Other countries that will benefit from the initiative include Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Nigeria and Egypt. Applications for the programme opened in the second week of January and, according to Microsoft’s representative in Mozambique, Igor Lourenço, the project is looking for candidates with a background in technological development and computer science. They should also have a strong interest in creating cloud solutions (cloud, remote computing), or already have experience in programming. As for the number of candidates per country, Igor Lourenço explained that the selection criterion is personal capacity, with no quotas by origin. However, considering that the goal is to reach 300,000 in eight countries, “the average number of candidates per country would be 37,500”.

The aim is for at least 100,000 programmers to be trained in each of the programme’s three years, so that the desired number is reached by the end of the whole period. “The first phase (first year) will be training in Microsoft Cloud technologies, through online sessions. We may have face-to-face meetings at times,” explained the Microsoft representative in Mozambique. For Igor Lourenço, this initiative will enable the country to close the gap with developed countries in terms of technological advances. “A practical example of comparison would be the development of 5G technology, which will be launched in 2019 and which, here in Mozambique, is still only being developed by one of the three mobile operators,” he pointed out.

Gebeya will identify talented software engineers who will be enabled to start their entrepreneurial journey through the development of practical skills

The collaboration is also seen as a significant step forward in the existing partnership between Microsoft and Gebeya. In 2020, both companies launched the first virtual SkillsLab in Ethiopia, with the aim of developing digital skills, particularly programming, among university students. More than 1,200 African software engineers have been trained through this platform.

Over seven years, Gebeya has established a proven track record in implementing training programmes and connecting talent across Africa. Now, in partnership with Microsoft, the Ethiopian company wants to expand its impact. Gebeya’s CEO, Amadou Daffe, emphasised on the company’s official website that the partnership “represents a monumental step towards realising the full potential of African talent by creating employment opportunities for young Africans to shape the future of the digital economy.”

In Africa, Microsoft plays a vital role in building the continent’s digital capacity. The commitment is reflected in various qualification and employability programmes, benefiting more than four million young Africans in the last five years. Gerald Maithya, general manager of the Microsoft Africa Transformation Office, also quoted on Gebeya’s official website, said that “young tech talent has never been more important to Africa”, emphasising the need to encourage tech professionals to drive innovation on the continent.

Empowering African tech talent

Drawing on Microsoft’s technical expertise and support to align with industry standards, Gebeya is developing curricula and skills programmes for this new training phase. Programmers embarking on this journey will also be equipped with advanced proficiency in GitHub Copilot, which will enable them to create applications and software with unprecedented speed and reduced errors. Microsoft’s Africa Transformation Office (ATO) will provide vital support for the implementation of the platform and development of the curriculum, offering Azure credits and assistance with the marketing campaign.

Promoting talent growth and giving them opportunities

The collaboration extends beyond skills development: Microsoft.gebeya.com will certify 100,000 programmers based on a given curriculum, with a merit-based recognition system. Through the platform, these Microsoft cloud developers will be put directly in touch with companies looking for their talent and specific services.

Gebeya will also integrate Microsoft-certified professionals into the talent market, using robust verification processes to ensure that they are indeed of the quality required. To speed up the hiring process, the Ethiopian company will support talent with profile development and extend support to companies looking for Microsoft-certified developers.

Creating AI-based job opportunities

With Microsoft’s technical support, Gebeya is developing AI solutions on Azure (Microsoft’s ‘cloud’, an online platform with more than 200 products and services), making it easier for young Africans to access meaningful job opportunities. This stems from the realisation that conventional talent search methods, which rely on keyword matching, often produce profiles with no genuine relevance to the job. But utilising Microsoft’s AI, Gebeya’s contextual search engine transcends the limitations of keywords by understanding job descriptions for a more precise match between talent and recruiter. This technological integration significantly increases Gebeya’s success in connecting talent and recruiters, ultimately generating more job opportunities. At the same time, AI tools are proving transformative, accelerating the transition of junior developers to mid-levels and improving the efficiency of senior developers.

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“This is a monumental step towards empowering African talent, creating job opportunities and entrepreneurs who will shape the digital economy,” Amadou Daffe, CEO of Gebeya.

There’s another side to the initiative: statistics show that one in three software developers wants to become an entrepreneur. As part of the collaboration with Microsoft, Gebeya will identify talented software engineers who will be enabled to start their entrepreneurial journey through a combination of practical skills development and exposure to the business ecosystem.

“This project with Microsoft is very ambitious and will require a collective effort from the entire ecosystem. Gebeya has always been a partnership-oriented organisation and, as always, we will be looking for partners to help us fulfil this bold mission,” said Martin Ndlovu, Gebeya’s Director of Growth.

Microsoft has been present in Africa for almost 30 years and has played a key role in helping to build the continent’s digital capacity through various skills and employability programmes.

This initiative represents an unprecedented opportunity for African tech talent to stand out globally, boosting Africa as a centre for tech talent. The partnership between Microsoft and Gebeya highlights their joint commitment to addressing the tech skills gap and shaping the continent’s digital future.

In 2021, Microsoft research revealed that Africa’s agricultural sector is poised for exponential growth over the next decade. The research revealed that with a projected value of $1 trillion by 2030, the continent is set to become the global centre for agritech solutions and has also seen rapid growth in technological solutions for agriculture.

By Ana Magana • Foto Mariano Silva

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