Microsoft, CGHE launch AppFactory Academy in Ethiopia to boost local talent


IT graduates and related computing discipline graduates at Ethiopia’s Wollo University will be able to access a six-month internship, where they will work on real-world software development projects with senior software engineers.

It follows the launch by the Center for Global Health Equity (CGHE), and Microsoft 4Afrika of a new AppFactory Academy in Ethiopia.

In a press release to Ventureburn, Microsoft 4Afrika said on completion of the internship graduates will be able to design, implement and deploy cloud-enabled, mobile and IT solutions in various sectors. They will also be equipped with critical business skills helping them to secure jobs or create their own businesses.

This is the ninth Microsoft AppFactory to be launched in Africa, with eight others in South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Rwanda and, recently, Ghana. To date, over 300 software system developers have graduated from the AppFactories, with 90% of these graduates having since been placed in jobs.

“Across Africa, public and private sector organisations are finding it difficult to recruit capable software engineers,” said Lutz Ziob from Microsoft 4Afrika. “Many end up resorting to hiring expensive expatriates, or spending lots of money on in-house training.

“Yet there are hundreds of local IT graduates who are either unemployed or underemployed, because they are deemed unqualified for these high paying opportunities. The AppFactory is bridging the competency gap for these graduates, so that they are able to take on these kinds of opportunities the day they leave the AppFactory Academy,” he said.

‘Initiative will help local graduates to take advantage of local opportunities’

Wollo University will host the new AppFactory at its institution of technology campus, the Kombolcha Institute of Technology (KIoT). Each year, it will set projects based on different sectors, from healthcare to education, agriculture, air transportation and others.

KIoT scientific director Ahmedin Mohammed said the academy will focus on certain sectors each year, to ensure there are large enough number of quality graduates in various disciplines, who can innovate and solve problems that advance the social good and improved livelihoods.

In its first year, the AppFactory will focus on healthcare, through the partnership with Tulane University – CGHE.

Tulane University – CGHE director Wuleta Lemma said the university and Lalibela Networks presently offer extensive expertise to render proven IT solutions and services adding that the university’s healthcare ICT solutions have been deployed in hundreds of clinics and hospitals in Ethiopia.

“We want to ensure that our IT solutions are locally maintained and continue to evolve, however it’s a challenge to find enough qualified information technologists as we expand and scale up in the market. The AppFactory Academy will play a significant role in enhancing local capacity for IT innovation that can transform Ethiopia and the continent,” said Lemma.

Featured image: Robert Scoble via Flickr (CC 2.0, resize)



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