As the popular saying goes “what a man can do, a woman can do better”. it isn’t only African men that are making strides in the tech world African women are also play a key role in the growth of technology in Africa and around the globe. here are five African tech women playing key roles in the world of technology.
Nnenna Nwakanma has an expansive online presence spanning social media and blogs.
She is an internet and information advocate for Africa. As the African coordinator of the World Wide Web Foundation, she supports work on the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI).
In the same vein, Nnenna is the co-founder of the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) an African organization that promotes the free software and open-source software model as a developmental tool for the continent.
Nnenna is working tirelessly to place unconnected Africa on the web and also ensure that everyone’s voice on the continent can be heard online.
Originally from Abia State in Nigeria, she has lived in at least five different African countries and is fluent in French. So she is more African than just Nigerian and is precipitation a great change in Africa.
In 2014 she was listed on a forbes articule among women tech founders to watch out for in africa. The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers’ Women In Engineering(WIE) also named her to their Power 60 list.
Rebecca Enonchong is the founder and CEO of AppsTech, a global provider of enterprise application solutions with presence in over 50 countries of the world.
Rebecca is the chairman of ActivSpaces; a Cameroonian tech hub with co-working space and incubator. The African Business Angels Network (ABAN) also names Miss Enonchong as co-founder and treasurer, as well as a mentor and adviser to several African based technology startups.
After 13 years spent with the National Union of Mine Workers coordinating its various operations; and being its negotiator, Irene Charnley went on to take up the position of the Executive Director of the MTN Group.
In 1996, Irene joined Johnnic Holdings South Africa with a vision to refocus the company as a leader in the media, telecommunications and entertainment sectors. In 1998, she became primarily focused on telecommunications and ensured Johnnic Holdings became leading shareholders in MCell Limited(that morphed into the MTN Group in October 2002).
It was under her leadership of MTN that Nigeria was connected to the telecommunications provider as she was instrumental in obtaining one of the three available cellular licenses at the time. She also helped MTN secure the second GSM license in Iran.
Irene Charnley left the MTN Group in 2007 with over $150 million in stock and is currently the founder and CEO of Smile Telecoms; a mobile broadband operator with markets in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
She was awarded businesswoman of the year in early 2000 and recently Fortune Magazine nominated her as one of the top 50 business women outside the USA.
Before May 2016, the name was a complete mystery to me so I would not blame you if you are unfamiliar with it too. Unless you have heard the wonderful story of how MAZA is saving lives in Ghana, then there is every possibility that you might not have come across this name.
Even after reading the MAZA story, there is more to this Emory University and Harvard-trained medical doctor than we all know.
After a two-year stint with the Task Force for Global Health as director of the Children Without Worms, five years with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in different capacities, Dr. Nana went on to become the Senior Program Officer, Department of Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation until May 2015 when she decided to channel this wealth of experience into saving lives.
MAZA was born in Ghana; a healthcare logistics provider that made access to health services accessible to rural dwellers.
In 2010, Mary Uduma became president of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA); an organization responsible for management of Nigeria’s country code Top Level Domain Name (ccTLD), dot ng, after serving as Vice-President since 2009.
2012 saw her retirement as Director of Licensing; Policy and Competition, Consumer Affairs of the Nigeria Communications Commission(NCC); a position she held for 5 years and 9 months.
Before she took over the reins of NiRA, the dot ng domain name was not exactly an in thing in the Nigeria technology circle. Under her leadership, dot ng became popular and grew astronomically. By 2015, NiRA had recorded real growth and strategies of Mary Uduma like giving out 100,000 free dot ng domains to celebrate Nigeria’s Centenary anniversary are responsible for this laudable progress.
The fight for the dot ng is far from won, but this advocate of the brand has sure made an impact in the iceberg.
Even with a university degree in Accounting, in her own words, Mary Uduma is an ICT enthusiast, passionate about acquiring and sharing knowledge with others, especially young people. And as a member of World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and convener of the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum (NIGF); she is sure spreading and sharing knowledge.
Whether anybody cares to admit or not, African women in tech are causing positive change in the continent on a massive scale. And the truth is that they have been doing so for a long time coming, we just do not hear enough of their heroic deeds. We should all work to change the myopic perception of African women in technology and STEM generally. (techpoint)