The Internet and mobile technology revolution offer not only a wealth of social and economic opportunities, but new ways to empower female entrepreneurs in emerging markets. They offer enormous potential for women’s empowerment, providing women with opportunities to find and share information, access educational tools and network and collaborate in order to grow their businesses.
Including women is not just about diversity, but it´s also about economic and social inclusion. Yet, lack of access to technology and technical training, autonomy and adequate infrastructure prevent many women from fully benefiting from the use of digital and mobile technologies. ICT has always been regarded as a masculine job, a common misconception of the industry which; is by no means a problem purely isolated to Africa.
There are challenges across the technology industry around the world, in some markets more than others, as women often take career path that offers more “soft” skills. Cultural barriers hinder women’s presence and advancement as an entrepreneur.
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report, women are still strongly under-represented in engineering and ICT.
However, these trends have since changed as technology has evolved to be much more inclusive; with the adoption of not just a mobile phone, but the introduction of financial inclusion services and other value-added applications that present huge opportunities for women as much as men.
The technological transformation has opened new platforms for women to take an entrepreneurial stance in business. Women across Africa are now taking the tech space with promising tech solutions that are driving Africa’s growth story and creating impact on personal life.
There are several female founders such as Rebecca Enonchong, Hilda Moraa, Richill ARTLoe, Nneile Nkholise and Tizzita Tefera who are revolutionising the technology industry in Africa, filtering and adding value to the value chain; demonstrating confidence and capabilities to establish themselves in the tech space, while empowering and inspiring others women and girls to do the same. These women are taking the lead in the technology space in Africa, bringing with them a whole host of meaningful innovations that could impact the development of the continent.
Here is a list of some of the most influential Africa TechWomen:
Rebecca Enonchong (Cameroon) is a technology entrepreneur and advocate. She is the founder and CEO of AppsTech, a global technology provider of enterprise application solutions. She has received widespread recognition for her work championing and promoting technology entrepreneurship in Africa including being named a Global Leader for Tomorrow (GLT) by the World Economic Forum and one of the top female tech founders to watch in Africa by Forbes.
Rachel Sibande (Malawi) is a computer scientist and social entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of mHub, Malawi’s first technology hub and incubator for innovators and emerging entrepreneurs. A recognised technology advocate, in 2015 she was a recipient of the Anita Borg Scholarship from Google and in 2016 was named one of Africa’s 30 most promising entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by Forbes.
Farida Bedwei (Ghana)is the co-founder and chief technology officer CTO) of Logiciel, a Ghanaian software company that develops technology solutions, which promote financial inclusion for the unbanked. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age, Farida is a well-known disability-rights advocate and has been featured widely in global media including CNN African Voices. She has been recognised with a number of awards including being named one of the most influential women in business and finance in Ghana.
Nneile Nkholise (South Africa)is a mechanical engineer and social entrepreneur with the vision to transform healthcare in Africa. She is the founder of iMed Tech, a medical innovation start-up, which produces prosthetics for cancer patients and burn victims. She has been recognised through a number of awards including the presidential award for Science, Innovation and Technology at the 2017 South African Youth Awards. She was also named one of Africa’s top female innovators at the World Economic Forum in 2016.
Hilda Moraa (Kenya) is fintech entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of Pezesha, which is peer-to-peer micro-lending marketplace for Africa that provides access to affordable financial services and credit scores to low income borrowers. She previously founded Weza Tele, one of the first African tech startups to successfully exit when it was acquired in 2015. In 2016, she was named one of the 30 “Most Promising Young African Entrepreneurs” by Forbes.
Aline Saraiva Okello (Mozambique) is a Civil Engineer, PhD researcher, social entrepreneur, and co-Founder HarvestRainWater App, an app designed to help communities prevent water shortages by building systems that collect and preserve rainwater. She has been recognized through a number of awards including the L’Oréal-UNESCO Fellowship for Women in Science, Faculty of the Future Fellowship and the Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize
Women are taking the lead in the technology space in Africa, bringing with them a whole innovations.
Evelyn Namara (Uganda)is Founder and CEO of Vouch Digital Limited, a technology start-up that is championing the development of digital solutions in the distribution sector. Their award-winning flagship product, M-Voucher, has been used by different development agencies to distribute seed crops, post-harvest and farming equipment. Evelyn has been named the Anita Borg ABIE Change Agent Award winner in 2012.
Haweya Mohamed (Somalia)is tech advocate and entrepreneur and Co-Founder & MD of Afrobytesbased in France. She is the co-founder and Managing Director of Afrobytes, a market place bridging the African and European tech ecosystems. Prior to co-founding Afrobytes, she built a successful media career working for big names such as Channel 4 and the RTL Group.
Lilian Makoi (Tanzania) is a fintech entrepreneur who is the founder of Jamii, a mobile micro-insurance start-up that enables access to affordable health insurance for low-income communities. She has won a number of awards including being named one of the most innovative women in technology in Africa by the World Economic Forum in 2016.
Temie Giwa – Tubosun (Nigeria) is the founder and CEO of LifeBank, a platform which; enables timely delivery of blood to hospitals and patients who need it. She was named one of BBC’s 100 Women in 2014, and has been featured as a TEDx speaker. Mark Zuckerberg highlighted her as one of the most inspiring entrepreneurs he met during his visit to Nigeria in 2016.