Staying Close While Working Remotely: Tunga’s Mission in 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. Tunga’s community and local team in Lagos has mushroomed in the past two years. 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 in Uganda and 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. Eleven of them are coders on Tunga’s dedicated team for rb2, which continues to expand. Our 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 working remotely for our clients.

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 staff. Given Lagos’s vast city, 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 started 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 finally delighted to meet in real life. It was amazing to see how colleagues 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. The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment hosted the conference, with encounters with various NGO representatives 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, 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 also met a bunch of new coders.

The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment conference

New insights for the future

So we strengthened the ties with our Tunga colleagues and the broader tech scene in Lagos and saw that we were on the right path. 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 jobs (with the matching salary!), just like many employers are angling for their skills. But there also are many 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.