Google trains 100,000 African software developers to boost tech communities

Caroline Wanjiku describes her embroidery to Rachel Ruto and Google Country Director for Kenya and East Africa, Agnes Gathaiya. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Google's scholarship and mentorship programme has turned out more than 100,000 software developers in Africa, the tech giant says.

The figures were released at a recent event aimed at strengthening Google's engagement with talent in Kenya and across the continent dubbed, "The Google Sandbox."

The quarterly event, which features talks and workshops for software developers and other professionals, seeks to activate partnerships to deepen relationships within the local tech community through first-hand interaction with Google talent around the world.

"It aims to engage and support local tech communities and partners that have been previously untapped by Google, with the goal of fostering connections between Google and these communities, inspiring communities to collaborate and innovate, and branding Google as an employer of choice for underrepresented talent," explained the firm in a statement.

This is achieved through collaboration, innovation, testing and learning not only for exposure to career opportunities but also for continuous professional development.

Google Head of Developer Ecosystem in sub-Saharan Africa John Kimani observed that the networking event serves as a platform that also strengthens the firm's engagement with talent in Kenya.

Mr Kimani said since opening its first office in Nairobi in 2007, the company has helped to strengthen the continent's internet ecosystem. "This engagement is just one part of our overarching work to support and contribute to the broader tech talent ecosystem," he noted.

"In 2017, we made a commitment to training 100,000 developers across Africa and through our Google Africa Developer Scholarship programme. We have helped train more than 105,000 developers," Mr Kimani added.

The firm's Country Director for Eastern Africa, Agnes Gathaiya said the Sandbox programme aims to empower software engineers in Africa to create transformative products and services.

"At Google, we believe that, to build for everyone, we need a diversity of perspectives and ideas to have better discussions, decisions, and outcomes," said Ms Gathaiya.