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Are There Only 4,527 Open Source Software Developers in All of Africa?

By Wayan Vota on August 26, 2013

github-africa

In an effort to help promote, highlight and grow Africa coders Matt Berg created a Mapbox map which shows the location and density existing GitHub users (primarily programmers) in Africa.

Looking at the map, I am shocked that only 4,527 African software developers are on GitHub – just 0.12% of all GitHub users. That makes me want to have answers to questions like:

  • Are there only 4,527 Open Source software developers on the continent?
  • How many non-Open Source developers are there?
  • Where do African Diaspora locate themselves on GitHub?
  • Are African developers just not using GitHub or is there another, secret platform they are all hiding on?

Do you have any answers? Love for you to share them in the comments below.

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Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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4 Comments to “Are There Only 4,527 Open Source Software Developers in All of Africa?”

  1. John Hawker says:

    I’m sure GitHub is great, but it’s a bit arrogant for any platform, even Google or Facebook, to claim 100% of all users.

    Have you checked your Ghana numbers with AITI-KACE in Ghana or iHub in Kenya?

  2. Matt Berg says:

    As we described in the site, we don’t pretend to think this represents a complete record of all software engineers in Africa. It simply is a listing of all GitHub users that listed in their profile a location that was an African country or city
    As a result, this wouldn’t cover an African programmer living in London but it would cover an American programmer living in Accra.

    So this is by no means a perfect method (bitbucket users are not captured for example) but I do think it does provide us some interesting insights on where the hotbeds of programming are. I also think it speaks a bit to the state of use of modern software practices in Africa. I think there is probably a lot of skilled engineers in Africa but I do think think the adoption of practices like version control does lag a bit behind. This also helps to explain a bit the numbers.

    Next we hope to provide some language usage stats by country along with a browseable user directory.

    If you are a programmer and are in Africa please be sure to update your location so we can count you in the next version of the map.

    Thanks,

    Matt

  3. Hi,

    Interesting map and initiative.

    Does the map update in real time? Does it count only open projects (no private ones?)?

    I taught in Senegal this year during my Fulbright and we had different initiatives where we used github with developers.

    Did you compare with other repositories (e.g., google code)?

    Thanks

    Christelle

  4. Tim Hatt, Senior Analyst, Mobile for Development Intelligence says:

    This is an interesting proxy for open source developers. While the true figure is unknown, we would expect this to grow over the next 2-3 years not only as a result of rising Android penetration, but other open source developers targeting newer OS like Firefox, Ubuntu and Sailfish