Five inspiring African women in tech

Editorial team

Women are underrepresented at most technology companies, and closing the gender gap is an important priority.

At Microsoft programs such as Microsoft YouthSpark, and DigiGirlz encourage women to step up in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and inspire them to pursue their passions.

Diversity and inclusion are a key part of our evolving culture at Microsoft. With today being International Women’s Day, we are celebrating diversity and reiterating our commitment to providing computer science resources and education to close the industry gender gap in STEM fields.

We are excited to unveil our new patent program to empower young women to #MakeWhatsNext. This will see Microsoft partner with select young inventors, many of whom will be selected through our global Imagine Cup competition, to help them secure a patent on their original invention or idea.

As we celebrate women in tech this International Women’s Day, here is a list of five inspiring African women in tech that you should know about

  1. Kenyan-born Juliana Rotich is Co-founder and Executive Director of Ushahidi – a web-based reporting system that uses crowdsourced data, mobile phones and web reporting to formulate real-time visual maps during crises. The system was used during the Kenyan presidential election crisis of 2007-2008, and has since been used in Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, Tanzania and Haiti. Juliana is an African Futurist and a TED Senior Fellow, who is known for her commentary on technology in Africa. She was also named Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year in Africa by the World Economic Forum.
  2. Considered an icon in Egypt’s internet world, Hanan Abdel Meguid started her first technology company, Microlabs, in Cairo 20 years ago, before the Web was publicly available in the area. She is a serial entrepreneur who learned how to raise money from venture capitalists, manage multiple technology platforms and strike deals with international companies before any of this was common practice. Now, while overseeing OTVentures, one of the region’s largest technology companies, she also shares her experience with young entrepreneurs to guide them on how to turn their ideas into commercially viable businesses.
  3. Born in Senegal, Mariéme Jamme is CEO of the London-based SpotOne Global Solutions, as well as a blogger, technologist and social entrepreneur. She is also the Co-founder of African Gathering, which is a global platform that brings together entrepreneurs and experts to exchange ideas about Africa’s development, as well as one of the organisers of the annual Apps4Africa competition. Mariéme spends time mentoring founders and managers of some of Africa’s technology hubs and was referred to by CNN as being at the forefront of the technology revolution that is transforming Africa.
  4. Nigerian-born Titilope Sonuga is an award-winning poet, writer, actor and civil engineer. Along with appearing on a Nigerian hit TV series, she performed at the swearing in of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. Most recently, she has been named the first Intel She Will Connect spokesperson in Nigeria. The initiative aims to bridge the internet’s gender gap by connecting five million girls and women to opportunities through technology by 2020. It offers digital literacy training, an online peer network and gender-relevant content for women to expand their technology skill set.
  5. Having made a name for herself in the advertising world, Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke was recently appointed by Facebook to spearhead its first African office in Johannesburg. Nunu holds a string of accolades, including a nomination for Businesswoman of the Year, being named a finalist for the Shoprite Checkers/SABC Woman of the Year Award, becoming Financial Mail’s Advertising Leader of the Year, and winning Business Personality of the Year at the Top Women in Business and Government Awards. Now she is ready to help Facebook penetrate the African market.

In order to close the gender gap, we are committed to creating even more opportunities for women like these to innovate, create, and unlock the best opportunities for their future.

For more inspirational stories of women in technology, watch this video:

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