The era of the tech industry dominated by men will soon be a thing of the past. Like the tortoise, women are slowly but surely taking the tech space by storm in Africa and continuing to build that proverbial bridge that will close the gap between the genders in the industry. Today, some of Africa’s most promising software firms feature female entrepreneurs who have taken on the digital boys’ club head-on and aren’t backing down. African companies raised $1.19 billion in the first half of 2021. On the other hand, female CEOs raised only 14% of the funding, up from 2% in the same period the previous year.
Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa accounted for up to 70% of all startup funding during this period, with 303 businesses raising more than one billion, one hundred and eighty-four million, two hundred and twenty thousand US dollars ($1,184,220,000), an increase from $701.5 million raised by 397 startups in 2020. According to the African Development Bank, there is a $42 billion funding gap for African women entrepreneurs.
Despite this, according to a report from The Women in Tech Africa Summit 2019, global technology enterprises led by female entrepreneurs often generate a 35% higher return on investment than those managed by men, despite obtaining 50% less venture capital funding.
While the number of women in the IT sector in Africa is increasing, according to Amma Baffoe, Head of Recruitment at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), it is still far below where it should be. The organization is now looking for even more dedicated, ambitious women to show the rest of the world how it’s done. “As technology advances, we must work together to ensure that we take the necessary steps to bring our women along by aggressively seeking out, attracting, and mentoring more African women into technology.” This has immense potential to empower families and open doors for future generations.”
Below are some of the women taking the African Tech Industry by storm.
1. Odunayo Eweniyi:
Odunayo Eweniyi is a Nigerian who co-founded several tech startups, including Piggyvest, FirstCheck Africa, and PushCV. She was named one of Time Magazine’s 2021 Time 100 Next, Bloomberg’s Bloomberg 50 in 2020, and Forbes Africa’s list of the 20 New Wealth Creators in Africa in 2019. The 27-year-old was born in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria’s South West, and graduated from Covenant University, also in Ogun State, with a Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering.
Eweniyi feels a responsibility to help other women on their journeys. “It’s impossible to attribute the lack of women in tech to biological differences.” It’s a mix of institutional bias, men funding men, and a toxic work environment for women. When women are allowed to shine, they take advantage of it.” “I have a sense of obligation because things have been reasonably easy for me.” I had a wonderful support system, and some luck has helped me get to where I am now.
2. Yewande Akomolafe-Kalu:
Yewande Akomolafe-Kalu She is the head of storytelling and branding of Flutterwave, one of Africa’s largest fintech companies. Yewande bagged a degree in psychology from Birmingham City University and experienced working in the fashion and entertainment industries.
“It’s reasonable to say that Nigeria’s digital industry is advanced and innovative; we’re going above and beyond to develop solutions for regular people to utilize and make their lives easier,” she says.
“Two people believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself: one, a friend who recommended me for a post that she couldn’t take, and Olugbenga Agboola, the CEO of Flutterwave, whom she introduced me to.
One of the primary stumbling blocks is that girls aren’t aware that technology is an option, citing her most significant challenges. We need to demystify the tech industry so that people understand it.
3. Adora Nwodo:
Adora Nwodo is a Software Engineer at Microsoft, creating cloud services and High-Value Experiences based on Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality. She also co-founded unStack Africa, an open-source software developer meetup. Adora is a Computer Science graduate from the Nigeria’s University of Lagos. She began her software development career as an intern at Neukleos in 2016. In 2018, she launched the AdoraHack blog, sharing stories about software development, productivity, and career advancement. By 2019, Adora had become a co-founder of unStack and an Associate Software Developer at Neukleos.
Adora has volunteered with various organizations, including Andela, Full Stack Developers Lagos, and Microsoft LEAP Apprenticeship.
4. Angela Nzioki:
Angela Nzioki co-founder of PlusPeople Kenya, a technology firm that assists small and medium-sized businesses to improve their operations. Uhasibu, a cloud-based accounting application that helps small businesses manage their money, and Payroll, a human resources management system, are two of their products.
“I want PlusPeople to be the firm that has answers throughout East Africa in ten to fifteen years.” I want to progress with the company. “I want to take on Africa and be the one who gets it there,” she says. She has been recognized as a top social entrepreneur and leader on numerous occasions: she was a finalist for the Zambezi Prize; she was one of only ten participants in the Skoll World Forum Young Leaders Initiative in 2016; and she is a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).
5. Zandile Keebine:
Zandile Keebine As the founder and CEO of GirlCode, a technology-based initiative aiming at empowering women, Zandile has ensured that thousands of young women in Africa have been empowered by the initiative since its start. The GirlCode Digital Academy, the GirlCoder Club, the GirlCode Accelerator Program, and the GirlCode Incubator project were all launched in 2018. The GirlCode SMME accelerator is a fast-growing initiative for female-owned tech businesses. Zandile is committed to using her platform and any resources she has to develop and grow the potential of young women on the continent.