African women have historically been some of the most disadvantaged people because of social and political norms, but recent developments in the corporate and startup worlds in Africa have allowed women to conceive of unique ideas to combat gender inequality and promote employment for all in the technology industry. Here are six female tech entrepreneurs who are making a difference with their business ideas.
Owigar is the co-founder of JuaKali, an online platform similar to LinkedIn that connects blue collar workers in the informal sector to employment opportunities. JuaKali allows users to create online profiles to showcase their expertise and recommendations to find formal employment in Kenya through web and mobile platforms.
Owigar is also the founder of Akirachix, an association that provides professional development services to women interested in technology. The association offers networking, training and mentoring to women with the goal of reducing the gender gap in technology for women in Africa and the world.
Coudy Binta De
This 24-year-old Senegalese entrepreneur is one the rising stars of the Information Technology sector in West Africa. Coudy Binta De and three other women established the first technology hub run by and for women in Sacre Coeur. The hub, named Jijiguene Tech Hub (Jijiguene means women in Woluf), offers elementary training for computer literacy to advanced training like coding in HTML and CSS.
Jijiguene Tech Hub also offers professional development services, and both men and women are welcome to come in with entrepreneurial ideas. Men overwhelmingly dominate the IT sector in Africa, and women like De are working to increase employment opportunities and create favorable social norms for female entrepreneurs.
Jamila Abass, Linda Kwamboka and Susan Oguya
These three Kenyan women created MFarm, a mobile platform that connects farmers with consumers in urban and rural areas. MFarm uses software that provides producers and buyers with the latest retail information, and consumers can purchase produce directly from the farmers and vice versa.
Farmers can find local consumers while buyers can find the lowest price for food amongst farmers; every user connects via SMS. The company began in 2010 after winning the IPO48 competition and is now supported by partners Samsung and Tech for Trade, a U.K.-based charity.
Akaliza Keza Gara
A Kigali native of Rwanda, Akaliza Keza Gara is a 27-year-old entrepreneur in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry of Rwanda’s technology sector. She is the founder of Shaking Sun, a multimedia company that offers website development, graphic design and computer animation services.
Gara believes women should be producers of technology, not just consumers. As such, she actively works to advance the position of women in the Rwandan ICT industry. In 2012, Gara was one of four female Rwandan entrepreneurs honored by the International Telecommunication Union for contributions to the ICT sector.
– Joseph McAdams