Staying close while working remotely: Tunga’s mission to Lagos

BY Kees Kranendonk · 4 MIN READ

Heralded as Africa’s Silicon Valley, Nigeria is an important country for Tunga. Some 50% of the 750+ qualified Tunga developers live here. In the past 2 years, Tunga’s community and local team in Lagos has mushroomed. But travel restrictions made it virtually impossible to travel there. Last month, we finally had a chance to catch up. It certainly wasn’t time wasted!

Long overdue

Much to the envy of colleagues both in Uganda and in Europe, COO Reinier van Scherpenzeel, Head of Talent Viola Nuwaha and Talent Manager Esther Ninsiima paid a long overdue visit to the Tunga branch in Lagos.

When we opened our Lagos office in October 2019, it had only three occupants. Now, it is supposed to accommodate 17 people. 11 of them are coders who are on Tunga’s dedicated team for rb2, which continues to expand. Our own Lagos crew has grown too – it currently boasts six members, none of whom we’d met in real life before! And this is all in addition to the many Nigerian devs who work for our clients remotely.

A visit to Nigeria is not complete without some jollof rice!

And working remotely is the key here, because 17 people would never actually fit in our current Lagos office. We need a bigger and better facility to house the client team and our own staff. Given how vast the city of Lagos is, we’re even considering opening two offices. Making this happen was one of the purposes of our trip.

Building connections

Another goal was to build connections. We love remote work, but in the end, nothing beats occasional real-life contact. Reinier, Viola and Esther kicked off their week in Lagos with a dinner with the entire Tunga team. The colleagues from Kampala and Lagos had been working together online for some time, and everyone was delighted to finally meet in real life. It was amazing to see how colleagues that were hired remotely, can embody the very values of our organization.

Viola, Dami (Tunga staff in Lagos) and Esther meet a former Tunga coder who has successfully moved on to work for a big client

Tunga collaborates with various partners in Nigeria and the following days were filled with meetings to catch up. There was the conference hosted by the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment, with encounters with various representatives of NGOs and even with the Consul General and Vice Consul General of the Dutch embassy in Nigeria. We work with various African training partners to help young coders take that final step. In Lagos, we met with our strategic training partners Ekobits and Edobits and some additional partners.

The week culminated in the DevFest, hosted by the Lagos Google Developer Group (GDG Lagos). The massive event was very well-organized. As a sponsor, Tunga had the chance to catch up with many developers from its Lagos community. And of course, we met a bunch of new coders as well.

The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment conference

New insights for the future

So we managed to strengthen the ties with our Tunga colleagues and the wider tech scene in Lagos and saw that we are on the right way. The trip also offered new insights into Nigeria’s developer community and how and for whom Tunga can best provide value. There already are quite a few African developers who have an exciting job (with the matching salary!), just like there are quite a few employers angling for their skills. But there also is a huge number of talented and ambitious African developers in Nigeria and beyond who need a launching pad for their international careers. And that is where Tunga finds its purpose.

Six years after its establishment, Tunga is well-positioned to reach out to more growing developer communities in Africa. Armed with new insights for 2022, we are ready to scale up and create more exciting opportunities for African tech talent.