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Letter 27, BD Insider: The newsletter arm of benjamindada.com

Hey, <<First Name>>

This week was eventful. From the resignation of Seun Onigbinde, co-founder and CEO of BudgIT, as a Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba,
 to the appointment of Gafar Lawal as the MD of Microsoft African Development Centre in Nigeria, which was launched in May, and the kidnapper that collected a ransom of $15,000 in bitcoin (1.48 BTC or 5.4 million).

Not forgetting the UEFA upsets (Liverpool fell 2 feet deep at Naples and PSG annihilated Real Madrid with 3 RPGs). The climax of the week was Andela laying off 420 junior developers.


Quote: "The young shall grow, but not at Andela. This Andela announcement reminds us that juniors, like in high school, are pawns for the seniors. Whatever you do, don't remain a junior and don't become a wicked senior". ~ Anonymous. 

In this newsletter, we write about why Andela is laying off 420 developers, gleaning from insider insights, and its impact on the tech ecosystem.

OPay office in Kano has been shut down by the Kano state police command. The spokesperson of the state's Police Command, Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, said the state government ordered the closure of the office because Opay didn't comply with some of the rules set by the state. Since the second half of 2019, there's been friction between bike-hailing startups, regulators and unions, especially in Lagos.

In August, two months after it launched ORide
—a bike-hailing service in Lagos, OPay launched OTrike—a tricycle-hailing service in Kano and Aba to further penetrate the market. But there are reports alleging that Opay might be involved in sharp practices.

Kwik Delivery has released its Application Programming Interface (API to customers. This means merchants and companies in need of on-demand delivery service can now seamlessly integrate Kwik application on their platforms and enjoy its last-mile delivery service.

Kwik Delivery is an on-demand delivery platform developed and operated by a French Nigeria-based company, Africa Delivery Technologies SAS, which is co-founded by Romain Poirot-Lellig (CEO) and Olivier Decrock (CTO). Kwik officially launched in June 2019 and has garnered over 2,000 customers.

rain, South Africa's data-only network, has become the first telecom operator to roll out 5G network in Africa. According to the Chief Marketing Officer, Khaya Dlanga, selected customers in rain's coverage area in Jo'burg and Pretoria will be able to purchase 5G unlimited internet for R1,000 (₦5,000) per month.  At the Mobile World Congress in February 2019, rain had announced that it is working with Huawei to commercially launch 5G in South Africa later in the year.

The Executive Director of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Professor Umar Dambatta, has said Nigeria is also ready for 5G network. In partnership with Ericson, MTN has carried out 5G trial and test use cases in South Africa and Nigeria in 2018, as part of its preparation for commercial deployment before 2020.

According to the 2019 Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan report, 3G and 2G are still the popular networks in Africa. 4G network will only overtake 2G by 2023 and commercial 5G services are projected to become more popular across the continent by 2021.

Emmanuel Okon and Abdulwaheed Alayande, founders of two Nigerian healthtech startups, are among the 20 finalists of the 2019 Anzisha Prize for entrepreneurs. Emmanuel is the founder and CEO of VMedKit⁠—a social enterprise using virtual reality to tackle the problem of mental disorders, while Abdulwaheed is the founder of TrepLabs, whose flagship product, called REALDRIP, is making blood transfusion and drip treatment safer and simpler.

The 20 finalists will undergo a 12-day accelerator boot camp ahead of the Anzisha Prize Forum in October, where they will be presenting their ideas before a panel of judges and the ultimate winner will go home with a grand prize of $25,000 (
₦9 million).

💼 Exclusive⁠—Why Andela is shedding off 420 'featherweight' developers and what it means for the ecosystem

On September 17, Andela shared the sad news that it is laying off about 420 junior engineers in Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya. The company, which upskills and place talented African software engineers in remote jobs abroad, laid off about 200 developers in Nigeria, 50 in Uganda, and 170 in Kenya.

This announcement has been a long-time coming. Five months ago, Andela started recruiting mid- and senior-level developers directly, without having them go through its Technical Leadership Programme. The reason that was given then, in a statement made available to benjamindada.com, was "to expand the company's business model".  With this latest development, Jeremy Johnson, CEO and co-founder of Andela, said the growth trajectory of the company has compelled it to make the strategic shift to strictly focus on senior developers.

Despite having over 1,500 developers, Andela struggles to meet the needs of its clients, who mostly request for senior developers. This is because the majority of those developers are in the D0 programme, Andela's training programme for entry-level engineers. Thus, when it started hiring senior developers directly in May, we submitted that Andela would be better placed to serve their clients if they have more experienced developers aboard.

What does this mean for the developers' ecosystem? Andela did an impressive job with their communications and public relations. They controlled the narrative and evoked support from the community. However, we have cause to believe that the developers were not given heads-up. They were as shocked by the news as the public because they received the memo just 30 minutes before the news broke.

This clearly puts a dent on the narrative has run with so far; building African tech talents. Because with a senior developer, you are not building anything, just plug and play. And that is a good business decision. Consider the 200 junior 'featherweight' devs as sacrificial lambs for business growth. Andela is expected to generate $50 million in revenue this year.

While there are plans to plug the affected developers into companies in Nigeria, they were given a robust severance package (3x of regular salary) and free three months access to Co-Creation Hub workspace.

Going forward, companies will need to guard their senior devs jealously as Andela will be coming for them. That's good senior developers; a beautiful marriage between demand and supply. Junior devs, on the other hand, will need to brace up as the influx of 200 devs into the ecosystem means companies now have a bigger pool of choose from. And as a result, the law of demand and supply will cause salaries to dip.

📅 Events and Opportunities

Apply to Chivas Venture to receive $1 million no-strings-attached funding

Apply to be part of Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology Class 2021. P.S: Full scholarship is available.

Kudi is hiring senior backend engineer and Android developer

Gokada is hiring for five roles.

InVision is hiring for different roles (remote)

BitPesa is hiring for different roles 

INITS is hiring a senior data scientist

SafeBoda is hiring
An inverse FaceApp: This software can give you a fake face to protect your privacy
⁠— Ben & Dan 💙
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