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5 African Women Founders: Trailblazers in a Woman’s World

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In the pulsating heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where innovation meets opportunity, Africa stands at the forefront of technological advancement. And in the midst of all the exciting changes happening, although not talked about as much, women have fast risen to the call of technology and become bold trailblazers who have broken through barriers, challenged norms, and transformed the tech scene in Africa.

From coding geniuses to visionary entrepreneurs, these pioneers have not only harnessed the power of technology to change lives but have also become beacons of inspiration and hope for generations of women and young girls to come.

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In this article, we honor the stories of 5 remarkable African women whose indomitable spirit, ingenuity, and vision have not only transformed the tech industry but have also left an indelible mark on the very essence of African innovation.

Naadiya Moosajee

Founder of Women in Engineering (WomEng), an organization dedicated to nurturing the talents of girls and women in engineering and technology, Moosajee is best known for her commitment to gender parity, spearheading a transformative movement to bridge the gender gap.

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 In 2014, Forbes recognized her as one of Africa’s Top 20 Young Power Women in Africa, while the Government of China honored her at the BRICS Summit for her outstanding contributions to STEM education for African girls. Passionate about fostering STEM education and gender equality, Moosajee is committed to shaping prosperous and equitable societies in emerging economies.

Alongside Hema Vallabh, she co-founded WomHub, further expanding their impact on the industry.

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According to Moosajee, “Engineers design our world and our society, and if we don’t have women at the design table, we exclude 50% of the population.”  

Betelhem Dessie

“As a young woman, coding made me feel independent and free, and that’s something I want to give other people.”

At the age of 7, Dessie fell in love with computers. And by the tender age of 20, this visionary Ethiopian technologist had six software programs patented in her name, and was involved in the development of the world-famous Sophia the robot. Dessie founded iCog-Anyone Can Code at the age of 24, an Ethiopian-based social enterprise that offers kids and youth an opportunity at a future through coding.

Through iCog, the futures of over 30,000 youths have been positively impacted, making them more employable and skilled for entrepreneurship.

Maya Horgan Famodu

Maya believes that if you want to support women, you put them in positions to do it themselves. And she lives by her words, having founded Ingressive capital and Ingressive for Good, one a venture capital that supports early-stage African tech startups, and the other a nonprofit providing micro-scholarships, technical skills training and talent placement to African tech talents in need, respectively.

Being the youngest Black woman to launch a tech fund, Maya Horgan has been honored by Forbes before in their “Under 30 Technology” list, in 2018.

Mary Mwangi

Mary Mwangi knows too well that being a pioneer, and especially in the tech space, is no bed of roses.

Founder and CEO of Data Integrated, this Kenyan powerhouse is a pioneer in the fintech logistics space in Africa, with her company leveraging on tech to offer financial solutions to African SMEs, with a greater focus on Kenya’s public transport system.

Being a pioneer, the challenges are there, she admits, but insists that “You can do it. You have to get up.” 

Charity Wanjiku

Charity Wanjiku describes herself as a shining star and a work-in-progress all at the same time. And a shining star she is indeed, having made patented solar panels and powered the most rural parts of Kenya before solar tiles were a thing. Recognized by both Forbes and the World Economic Forum as a top woman in tech globally, Charity is the founder Strauss Energy Ltd, an off-grid solar energy startup based in Nairobi, Kenya. She lights up the lives of Kenyans in rural areas – Literally.

The uniqueness of Strauss’ solar systems lies in their special meters that can feed unused electricity back to the national grid, generating income for households. 

She is passionate about breaking STEM barriers for women and girls, as in her words, “It’s important that girls are at the forefront of this digital age, because nobody will hire you if you do not have tech skills.”  

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