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A Big Step Forward for IT Skills Development in Africa

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Luis Monzon
Luis Monzon
Journalist. Reach me at

Leadership skills development group African Leadership International (ALI) has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Holberton Inc., a Silicon Valley-founded, project-based, college alternative education firm that seeks to prepare the next generation of software engineers.

The acquisition will give ALI ownership of the advanced technology program that will enable the group to provide global organizations access to a significant untapped workforce capable of bridging the growing global shortage of technology talent.

It will also seek to leverage the advanced program to change the lives of millions of Africans by equipping them with the software engineering skills essential for the future digital workplace.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the third quarter. As part of the transaction, the Holberton School network will be separated into an independent organization.

“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,” said Julien Barbier, Co-Founder of Holberton.

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 labor 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, says ALI.

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, and Alibaba among others, have all announced plans to open tech hubs in Africa.

These trends spurred ALI to partner with Holberton’s advanced technology program two years ago to rapidly scale up the training of software engineers on the African continent, the company says.

“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,” said Fred Swaniker, Founder and CEO of African Leadership International.

Over the past year, more than 95,000 students have enrolled in African Leadership International’s ALX skills acceleration program, scaling over 2,000 times in the last 15 months.

Through The ROOM, the placement division of African Leadership International, this African talent will then be matched and connected to global corporations seeking to build their technology teams, similar to how technology companies today go to locations in Eastern Europe and India to find talent.

With this acquisition, ALI believes it can position itself as a leading source of technology talent on the African continent, and one of the largest in the world.

Holberton’s technology has proven that it will play a crucial role in the ALI ecosystem. Students trained using Holberton’s technology have been hired by companies like Apple, Google, Tesla, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Pinterest, Rappi, and Nvidia.

With the combination of the ALX program, Holberton’s technology, and The ROOM career placement, ALI seeks to put forward a world-class service that will solidify Africa’s place as the final frontier for technology, while providing a lasting solution to the global technology talent shortage.

Edited by Luis Monzon
Follow Luis Monzon on Twitter
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