Juliana_Rotich_Ushahidi_women leading technology
Though the forefront of technology and innovation may be centered in California’s Silicon Valley, leaders in the field, particularly women, are not geographically limited to the Golden State. Africa specifically boasts a score of female ingénues, masters in their given field. From entrepreneurs to leaders, women are very much present in a variety of industries.

In the field of technology, Julia Rotich is the executive director of Ushahidi and one of its four founders. Ushahidi is a Kenyan non-profit tech company committed to providing transparency and democratizing information through open source software.

Originally established as a crisis map visualizing information of violence in Kenya, Ushahidi has since expanded to aiding companies, organizations and individuals. As the executive director, Rotich manages projects, acts as a global voice through her position as a Ted Talk Senior Fellow and is hailed by the World Economic Forum and Forbes, among others.

Combining technology with research, Professor Tebello Nyokong’s research largely focuses on photodynamic therapy. Utilizing light, Nyokong’s research is geared towards the treatment of cancer and restoration of the environment.

With a degree in chemistry at the National University of Lesotho, Nyokong finished with an MSc, to which she followed with a PhD from the University of Western Ontario and a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame in the U.S.

Marieme Jamme pushes for the inclusion of African voices regarding the development of Africa. Jamme is a co-founder of Africa Gathering, a forum and global platform to disseminate and share ideas that will better the continent.

With a bevy of innovators and world leaders, these women, a small selection among many, drive against the grain and canon of Africa as a receiver of aid. What the noble peace prize nominee teen Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan did for women’s education, these women, of whom there are many, demonstrate every day for technology: that it is a field run by both sexes.

Miles Abadilla

Sources: Africa Gathering, Forbes , IT News Africa, New York Times, Tech Women, Ushahidi, Ushahidi-2
Photo: TED

Are Tech Entrepreneurs the Future of Africa?

Two days ago, Apps4Africa announced the winners of its 2012 competition for innovative technological solutions to current African problems. Does this mean Tech Entrepreneurs are the Future of Africa?

300 submissions were narrowed down to the best three: Ffene, a business management app from Uganda; SliceBiz, a crowdsourcing program from Ghana which encourages investing small amounts into high growth start-up businesses; and Prowork, a project management tool for businesses.

As the globalization of technology becomes even more widespread, African entrepreneurs are using technology and online services to solve basic and complex problems within their community. In countries that face stark problems meeting basic needs, this type of entrepreneurship is critical in becoming self-sustaining.

However, one of the largest obstacles within many communities is that the culture of entrepreneurship is just beginning. The big problem many young entrepreneurs are facing is that investors find this upstart mentality too risky or time-consuming to devote a lot of time or money into it.

While the ideas for new technological solutions and start-up businesses are sprouting up in more and more African communities and tech entrepreneurs are becoming more and more valuable to national economies, one of the most highly needed commodities is mentoring.

– Pete Grapentien

Source: CNN