Gebeya: Shaping A Robust African Software Industry



In this technology driven world, Africa is still recording low iGDP compared to its neighbouring continents. Funding, infrastructure, electricity and IT literacy are among the key challenges hampering ICT development in Africa. Currently, only one percent of African children leave schools with basic coding skills yet Africa's population has been increasing at an average of 2.5% in the last five years. Africa will also have the largest working population by 2040. With this forecast, Africa's labour force ought to be well equipped to support and nurture the effective exploitation of ICT to benefit development.

Gebeya, a pan african software development and training company just hosted their first graduation ceremony. On May 20th, 2017, after 6 months of intensive and hands-on training, Gebeya celebrated the graduation of its first batch of highly competent software developers and engineers. Last year in September 2016, Gebeya launched one of Africa's premier IT training Academies in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to take on the challenge of getting more Africa involved in the global IT economy. The academy accepted 70 of the most talented individuals across the continent after a thorough and competitive round of applications and interviews. Gebeya plans to expand across Africa, helping 5000 trainees graduate in the next 5 years.

The startup focuses on three cornerstones; training, marketplace, and incubation. Gebeya aims to increase the number of skilled IT professionals in the continent by taking IT enthusiasts through their advanced training programs, connecting them with businesses and entrepreneurs on demand and incubating innovative startups in Africa in order to propel growth within the sector and economy at large. The startup has partnered with institutions such as Tezza - a leading quality assurance, Software Testing and custom Software development company in Africa and Kad ICT Hub -a hub for entrepreneurs, software engineers and developers in Nigeria, to amplify their efforts in increasing digital literacy within the continent.

Gebeya believes that every qualified individual deserves the chance at a better education.They work hard to make financial aid available to increase inclusivity in education. True to its beliefs, the startup offers women applicants automatic scholarships upon acceptance so as to cultivate gender inclusivity within IT industry. Graduate trainees such as Ismael Kedir, who, at 15 years of age, is Gebeya's youngest talent, was able to build a website for a local Ethiopian restaurant called Opium Addis in just one week. He was only judged by his skills and not age.

Gebeya co-founders, Amadou Daffe - CEO/ Co-founder and Hiruy Amanuel, launched Gebeya to increase the availability of skilled labour on demand and develop affordable software solutions that will enable Africa to competitively participate in the global digital economy. This has seen startups such as Check On Me leverage on world class professionals on demand to enable them to scale fast and reduce costs. Currently, Gebeya has offices in Ethiopia and Kenya focusing on the East African market and are planning to expand to 10 countries across Africa in the next five years to amplify their current efforts.

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Saving The Planet Is Really A Question Of Dopamine

Our carelessness toward the environment could be due, in part, to the functioning of a very primitive area of our brain: the striatum.

Ad scuba-diver and brain coral

Stefano Lupieri

PARIS — Almost every week, a new scientific study alerts us to the degradation of the environment. And yet, we continue not to change anything fundamental in our systems of production and habits of consumption. Are we all suffering from blindness, or poisoned by denial?

In his popular books Le Bug humain (The Human Bug) and Où est le sens? (Where is the Sense?), Sébastien Bohler, a journalist in neuroscience and psychology, provides a much more rational explanation: The mechanism responsible for our propensity to destroy our natural environment is in fact a small, very deep and very primitive structure of our brain called the striatum.

This regulator of human motivation seems to have been programmed to favor behaviors that ensure the survival of the species.

Addictions to sex and social media

Since the dawn of humanity, gathering information about our environment, feeding ourselves, ensuring the transmission of our genes through sexual intercourse and asserting our social status have all been rewarded with a shot of dopamine, the 'pleasure hormone.'

Nothing has changed since then; except that, in our society of excess, there is no limit to the satisfaction of these needs. This leads to the overconsumption of food and addictions to everything from sex to social media — which together account for much of the world's destructive agricultural and energy practices.

No matter how much we realize that this is leading to our downfall, we can't help but relapse because we are prisoners of the dopamine pump in the striatum, which cannot be switched off.

Transverse section of striatum from a structural MRI image

Lindsay Hanford and Geoff B Hall via Wikipedia

Tweaking genetics 

According to Bohler, the only way out is to encourage the emergence of new values of sobriety, altruism and slowness. If adopted, these more sustainable notions could be recognized by the striatum as new sources of dopamine reward. But there's the challenge of promoting inspiring stories that infuse them with value.

Take the photo-collage exhibition "J'agis ici... et je m'y colle" ("I'm taking action here... and I'm sticking to it"), a collection of life-size portraits of residents committed to the energy transition, displayed on the walls of the French coastal city of La Rochelle.

Backed by the French National Center for Street Arts, photographer Martin Charpentier may be employing artistic techniques, but he's also tinkering with neuroscience in the process.

Les Echos
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