In honour of International Women’s Day, we’ve decided to highlight six outstanding women working in cutting-edge tech in and for Africa.
1) Dr. Aisha Walcott-Bryant, Research Scientist, IBM Research-Africa
Originally from the US, Dr. Walcott-Bryant is now based in Nairobi, Kenya where she works as a Research Scientist for our longstanding Partner, IBM Research-Africa. Her research uses AI technologies to address the rise of non-communicable diseases on the continent. She gave a fascinating presentation at our Spotlight Seminar on the Future of Health in Africa last year on IBM Research-Africa’s Epidemic Preparedness System and the Chronic Illness Management System. We can’t wait to hear more about the impact she makes!
2) Timnit Gebru, PhD Candidate, Stanford University
Born in Ethiopia, Timnit Gebru is both a top-flight researcher and a passionate advocate for greater diversity and inclusion in AI. During her PhD studies at Stanford University, Gebru produced several acclaimed papers on mining large datasets for sociological insights. And, not only that but after noticing she was the only black woman at a top AI conference, she co-created a social organisation, Black in AI, to boost representation and participation in AI research. Gebru also went back to her home country, Ethiopia, to co-lead Addis Coder, a programming boot camp, for a wide range of students and help them gain admission to Ivy League Universities.
3) Ayorkor Korsah, Founder, African Robotics Networks
Ayorkor Korsah co-founded the African Robotics Networks (AFRON) with her colleague, Ken Goldberg of Berkeley University, to boost robotics-related education, research, and business on the continent. Since its launch in 2012, AFRON has acquired 300 members from 25 countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Algeria, as well as affiliated members from the US, Switzerland, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Argentina. Dr. Korsah also heads up the Computer Science Department at Ashesi University, a leader in undergraduate education in Africa.
4) Temie Giwa-Obosun, Founder, LifeBank
In recent decades, Nigeria’s healthcare system has experienced huge blood supply problems. Temie Giwa-Obosun decided to tackle this problem with her startup, LifeBank, which uses digital supply chain technology to deliver blood when and where it is needed in Lagos. Since its creation in January 2016, LifeBank has moved almost 2,000 pints of blood and helped save “up to 900 lives” in the process. The startup now plans to expand and kick off operations in Abuja, and Kaduna, a state in northern Nigeria. A well-earned congrats!
5) Maya Horgan Famodou, Founder, Ingressive
Nigerian-American, Maya Horgan Famadou, noticed that tech investors in Silicon Valley wanted to invest in Africa, but lack the knowledge or partners on the ground to help them get on the inside. The solution? Ingressive: a company that offers clients direct access and integration to African tech ecosystems. Ingressive’s big claim to fame is ‘Tour of Tech Africa’, curated on-ground market exploratory tours where investors, multi-national partners, and clients can gain top insights into doing business in Nigeria.
6) Bunmi Banjo, Head, Brand and Digital Skills, Africa, Google
After a career in banking, Nigerian born, Bunmi Banjo, said she wanted to create economic opportunities for Africans. She now leads Google’s Digital Skills for Africa, which provides free online marketing for young Africans to gain key digital skills. Under her leadership, Google set and exceeded its goal to train 1 million African youth between April 2016 and March 2017. As a result, in July 2017, Digital Skills for Africa was extended to see 10 million young people trained by 2022, as well as 100,000 developers trained across the region. According to Banjo, 67% of participants say that they got a job or feel better prepared for jobs as a result of the training.
The Planet Earth Institute is an international NGO and charity accelerating science, technology and innovation across Africa. We have developed the PEI exChange – the first online networking and matching platform that connects professionals working in and for Africa. The exChange makes it easier for experts to meet, exchange knowledge and showcase their work.
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