Tuesday, July 16, 2013

#VimTechList: 11 young female African technology leaders to know about

It's a glaring fact that African women are not as much involved in the tech space as much as their male counterparts. In this #VimTechList, I'd like to recognize some African women who are doing a lot to drum up interest in technology locally and elsewhere on the continent. They are developers, content creators, and thought leaders. These are a few I know about. Let me say I am disappointed in myself that there's no one in this list from Lusophone Africa. I need that Angola trip. Anyway, on to the people who must be celebrated. Tech Needs Girls in Africa. And it's just because we want more women at tech events in Africa. We need to embrace & create more technological solutions on the continent. We need influential women across the board. Here are the bubbling +Ory Okollohs, +Estelle Akofio-Sowahs, and +Nnenna Nwakanmas.

Doris Anson-Yevu - Ghana: I've known +Doris Anson-Yevu for a long time, I am not sure I remember where and how I met her. She had joined Suuch Solutions which I had . Kafui has been at the forefront of building Fienipa (an African portal), and the growing +kasahorow which is enabling African languages on the web. Along with her work on Nyamfowa & Nyaseto, she's a localization cahmpion. She's been a leader locally in Accra for women in tech activities and is part of the GhanaThink Foundation team, working on +Barcamp Ghana. She's launched PhotoWalk Ghana and presently leads the GDG Women chapter in Ghana, cc +GDG Ghana. She's on Twitter as @kafuiday.

Rapelang Rabana - South Africa: Thinking about it now, I am shockprised I didn't know of Rapelang Rabana until I met her in Cape Town this year. Neither as a Global Shaper or as a tech industry guru. Together with others, she started Yeigo, which got into VoIP services very early on. She's been featured on countless websites, spoken at many places and shared platforms with various high profile people. She's been named one of the top African entrepreneurs under 30 as well, having worked on various successful ventures in Africa. She tweets at @rapelangrabana.

Nmachi Jidenma - Nigeria+Nmachi Jidenma is living in San Francisco now but she has one foot on the continent. Kinda like how I was for 10 years while in the US. I first connected with Nmachi via social media. When I realized she was working at Google, I was just a little prouder to be working for Google. She runs one of my favoritest websites CP-Africa.com. It stands for Celebrating Progress Africa, what's not to like about this? She worked in outreach at Google too, working to build tech communities like me. She's presently at Yola. She tweets at @nmachijidenma 
Catherinerose Barreto - Tanzania: I met +Catherinerose Baretto in Dar Es Salaam in February 2013 at G-Tanzania. She'd been introduced to me by +Kathleen Bomani, another awesome African lady in this space. Catherinerose was part of the group building +KINU - Capacity Building, Co-creation & Innovation, an innovation hub for Tanzania. She's also part of the local Global Shapers. When I became a global shaper, I looked around for the other African global shapers. Seeing her as part of the Dar ones gave the program more credence for me. Follow her @@CRBarretto.

Edith Brou - Cote d'Ivoire: I've never met +edith yah brou but I first heard of her through Nnenna when I was looking for tech community leads in Ivory Coast. I became acquainted with Edith Brou when the first blogcamp was held in Lome and I was following on Twitter. She runs a popular Ivorian blog called Godivoire - L'Actu Web de Edith. You can always use Google Translate, so follow her @EdithBrou.

Florence Toffa: I got to work with +Florence Abena Toffa a lot while she was an active part of the +Barcamp Ghana team. She was a student at the +Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology. After graduating, she ended up leading a Web Foundation project in Ghana around mobile web technology. Today, it's known as Mobile Web Ghana and the organization has trained & churned out many mobile technology startups. MWG also is a big part of Mobile Mondays in Accra. She even finds time to organize Ghana Fashion Awards. Remarkable woman. She tweets at @florencetoffa.

Linet Kwamboka - Kenya: +Linet Kwamboka is a team member of AkiraChix as well. It aims (starting with Kenya) to develop a force of women in technology in Africa. It's providing a model which is being replicated around the country (especially by next two women). I first met her in Accra shortly after Makerfaire Africa 2012, introduced to me by +Mac-Jordan Degadjor & +Henry Barnor. I had communicated with her briefly while she was organizing Startup Weekend Nairobi earlier in the year. Her Twitter username is G33kmate, sounds like a follow to me :-)

Ethel Mbewe - Zambia: I met +Ella Ethel Mbewe at Pivot East in June 2012 in Nairobi. She had been introduced to me by Bongo Hive's +Lukonga Lindunda and I was to give her some Google schwag to take to +GDG Lusaka. I was impressed that she had come all the way to this "East African" event to observe, share and learn. Later on I realized she was birthing the Asikana Network (On Twitter), which seeks to build a community of women in tech in Lusaka, Zambia and beyond. Through her & others' efforts, women's tech organizations in Africa are being crowd mapped.

Binta de Coudy - Senegal: I first got to know of +Binta Coudy Dé when she was approaching Google Africa about sponsoring Barcamp Dakar. They were going to have a 2-day Barcamp. I hope to attend one of these days, and visit Senegal of course. #Niewthem! Binta's done well connecting the local tech 'Galsen' community. She also started +Jjiguene Tech Hub which is a community space encouraging more women in Dakar and elsewhere to embrace & create technology.

Theresa Karungi - Uganda+Terry Karungi just has Googley written all over her. See the Internship movie for what Googley means. I met Terry at G-Uganda 2011, while she was a Google student ambassador at Makerere University and a member of +GDG Kampala. She's smart, energetic, friendly; she has a presence about her. She's also a developer at Kola studios which has as its signature product, one of the most popular games on Android, +Matatu Game. She's an Anita Borg scholar and many Google enthusiasts might also remember her from this video. She tweets @Kashweeti.

Regina Agyare - Ghana+regina agyare was one of the first few +Ashesi University graduates. She was the only female software engineer at the bank she started working at. She moved on to her own firm which is doing some special things in Ghana, Soronko Solutions. They deliver a lot of services for SMEs and other institutions. I missed the chance to see her speak at +Barcamp Cape Coast, but saw her in action at the subsequent +Barcamp Ho. This year, Regina is working with another lady I'm likely to feature in another list soon, +Rasheeda Yehuza on Tech Needs Girls GH. They organized an intro to technology seminar for female senior high school students in Kumasi. Regina's now an Aspen Fellow. Follow her on @ragyare.

Teamwork and multiply. Here's a starting eleven. I'd be sure to feature more as the days go by. Please share names and info about other awesome young female technology and community leaders via the comments. 
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