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African developers: creating opportunities and building for the future

Every day, African businesses harness ingenuity to empower their communities. African software developers are an engine for digital transformation in local economies across the continent, and there’s no one better to solve challenges than local developers, founders, and entrepreneurs. And as African startup funding reaches unprecedented levels (growing by over 2.5x in 2021 over the…

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Every day, African businesses harness ingenuity to empower their communities. African software developers are an engine for digital transformation in local economies across the continent, and there’s no one better to solve challenges than local developers, founders, and entrepreneurs. And as African startup funding reaches unprecedented levels (growing by over 2.5x in 2021 over the previous year), understanding Africa’s developer landscape is key to support the growth of these startups.

For the second year in a row, Google published the Africa Developer Ecosystem report to map Africa’s developer landscape. We expanded this edition of the report to include year-on-year growth analysis, tech ecosystem components and key growth factors. The research was conducted in 16 African markets (Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda) and the findings were extrapolated to the rest of the continent.

Here are the five key takeaways from our study:

1. Africa’s developer population is growing across the continent.

We found that COVID-19 has continued to shape both the tech community at large and the nuances of the developer experience. Despite a contracting economy, the pool of professional developers increased by 3.8% to make up 0.4% of the continent’s non-agricultural workforce. Salaries and compensation also rose, and more developers secured full-time jobs.

2. VC investment in African startups rebounded as the digital economy expanded.

As local businesses transitioned online across the continent, they boosted the need for web development and data engineering skills. African startups raised over $4bn in 2021, 2.5x times more than in 2020, with fintech startups making up over half of this funding. The shift to remote work also created more employment opportunities across time zones and continents for African developers while lifting the pay for senior talent. As a result, international companies are now recruiting African developers at record rates.

3. Learners, junior developers, as well as underrepresented groups including women, need more support.

These groups faced challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Without access to in-person education — or affordable, reliable internet access and at-home equipment — they struggled to make gains last year. This can be seen in how the gender gap between men developers and women developers widened: there are 2.5% fewer women developers in the workforce than there were in 2020.

4. Educators, technology companies and governments are undertaking initiatives to strengthen the developer pipeline.

Educators, tech companies and governments can help developers succeed by improving internet access, education and business support. Bootcamps and certifications, run as part of formal and informal education, are working to bridge the vocational training gap between traditional education and employment moving forward. Global technology companies are investing in digital skill building across the continent to improve job readiness and alleviate the tech talent bottleneck. Governments can also play a vital role in strengthening the developer pipeline by investing in both internet access and education.

5. Nigeria is a striking example of the symbiotic relationship between digital transformation and developer growth in Africa.

The developer ecosystem in Nigeria is thriving, thanks to strong demand for developer talent, significant support from big tech, and Nigerian startups raising the largest total amount of funding on the continent in 2021. Nigeria had the highest number of new developers of all countries surveyed, with 5,000 additional developers joining Nigeria’s developer population in 2021. As countries like Nigeria continue to transform, they will unlock more opportunities for developers, who in turn, grow the economy.

To support the continued growth of Africa’s developers, technology companies, educators and governments are tackling local challenges through innovative partnerships and programs. Google is committed to supporting developers at each stage of their journey through regional developer training, community, and mentorship programs, including Google Developer Groups, Google Developer Student Clubs, Women Techmakers and Google Developer Experts.

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Step into the Meroë pyramids with Google

When you think of pyramids does your mind wander to the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt or the Mayan Temples of Guatemala? Great civilizations built each of these pyramids and inscribed their stories onto the walls of them, offering glimpses into their daily life.The Pyramids of Meroë in Sudan, while lesser known, are no different.…

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When you think of pyramids does your mind wander to the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt or the Mayan Temples of Guatemala? Great civilizations built each of these pyramids and inscribed their stories onto the walls of them, offering glimpses into their daily life.

The Pyramids of Meroë in Sudan, while lesser known, are no different. Today, you can explore these stunning pyramids, which are a UNESCO World Heritage site, on Google Arts & Culture.

Over 200 pyramids were constructed in Meroë, the third and final capital of the Kushite Kingdom, an ancient African civilization that ruled the lands of Nubia for over 3000 years. Now you can take a virtual walk through the Pyramids of Meroë and explore the inscriptions using Street View’s panoramic imagery. You can also learn more about the Kushite Kingdom, their royalty and the architecture behind the pyramids in an immersive web experience that’s available in a range of languages including Arabic, English, French, German and Spanish.

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Bay View is open — the first campus built by Google

Taking green building to a new scaleTo deliver on our commitment to operate every hour of every day on carbon-free energy by 2030, we prioritized renewable energy and maximized the solar potential of our buildings. Bay View’s first-of-its-kind dragonscale solar skin and nearby wind farms will power it on carbon-free energy 90% of the time.The…

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Taking green building to a new scale

To deliver on our commitment to operate every hour of every day on carbon-free energy by 2030, we prioritized renewable energy and maximized the solar potential of our buildings. Bay View’s first-of-its-kind dragonscale solar skin and nearby wind farms will power it on carbon-free energy 90% of the time.

The campus is also on track to be the largest project certified by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) under any of their programs, at any certification level. As part of ILFI’s Living Building Challenge, we’re targeting a Water Petal certification, meaning the site is net-positive with all non-potable water demands being met using the recycled water generated on site. Above-ground ponds that gather rainwater year round and a building wastewater treatment system serve as water sources for cooling towers, flushing toilets and irrigating the landscape. This is a big step toward delivering on our commitment to replenish 120% of the water we consume by 2030.

It doesn’t stop there. Bay View is an example of an all-electric campus and shows what’s possible in regenerative building. Here’s how:

  • The two kitchens that serve seven cafes are equipped with electric equipment rather than gas — a template for fully carbon-free cafes and kitchens.
  • There are 17.3 acres of high-value natural areas — including wet meadows, woodlands and a marsh — that are designed to reestablish native landscapes and rehabilitate Bay Area wetlands. Something that’s especially important as Bay View sits close to the San Francisco Bay.
  • The water retention ponds not only collect water for reuse, but also provide nature restoration, sea level rise protection, and access to the beauty of natural wetlands. New willow groves along the stormwater ponds provide resources for wildlife.
  • The integrated geothermal pile system will help heat and cool the campus. The massive geoexchange field is integrated into the structural system, reducing the amount of water typically used for cooling by 90% — that’s equal to five million gallons of water annually.

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Seniors search what they see, using a new Lens

“Often, when I go for a walk, I stumble upon an unknown flower or a tree. Now I can just take a picture to discover what kind of plant I am standing before,” Verner Madsen, one of the participants, remarked. “I don’t need to bring my encyclopedia. It is really smart and helpful.”Seniors in a…

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“Often, when I go for a walk, I stumble upon an unknown flower or a tree. Now I can just take a picture to discover what kind of plant I am standing before,” Verner Madsen, one of the participants, remarked. “I don’t need to bring my encyclopedia. It is really smart and helpful.”

Seniors in a country like Denmark are generally very tech savvy, but with digitization constantly advancing — accelerating even faster during two years of COVID-19 — some seniors risk being left behind, creating gaps between generations. During worldwide lockdowns, technological tools have helped seniors stay connected with their family and friends, and smartphone features have helped improve everyday life. One key element of that is delivering accurate and useful information when needed. And for that, typed words on a smartphone keyboard can often be substituted with a visual search, using a single tap on the screen.

Being able to “search what you see” in this way was an eye-opener to many. As the day ended, another avid participant, Henrik Rasmussen, declared he was heading straight home to continue his practice.

“I thought I was up to speed on digital developments, but after today I realize that I still have a lot to learn and discover,” he said.

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