IN recent years, the African tech scene has witnessed rapid growth and investment, with Nigeria emerging as a leading hub for innovative tech startups and tech giants. Nigeria’s dynamic tech ecosystem, particularly in Lagos, often referred to as the ‘Silicon Lagoon,’ is fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
This fertile ground for technological advancements has given rise to a remarkable cohort of tech leaders whose contributions are worthy of recognition. Here’s a closer look at some of Africa’s most influential tech entrepreneurs who have made significant strides in the industry and have left an indelible mark.
- Strive Masiyiwa: Strive is renowned for pioneering mobile telecommunications in Africa through Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. His pivotal role in bringing mobile telephony to Zimbabwe and other African nations addressed communication challenges and contributed to economic development. Strive is not only a Zimbabwean billionaire but also a philanthropist deeply engaged in technology-driven transformational change.
- Rebecca Enonchong, FREng: Rebecca has made a name for herself through her leadership in providing enterprise application solutions with AppsTech. Her company has developed and implemented advanced enterprise software solutions that empower African businesses with efficient and scalable technology tools.
- Iyinoluwa Aboyeji: Iyinoluwa is influential for co-founding Andela and Future Africa, supporting tech talent development and startups. Andela identifies, trains, and connects African software developers with global companies, while Future Africa invests in and nurtures the next generation of African entrepreneurs.
- Mitchell Elegbe: Mitchell Elegbe is the founder of Interswitch Group, a pioneering Nigerian fintech company. The company introduced innovative payment processing solutions and financial services, revolutionising the way transactions are conducted across Africa.
- Ashish Thakkar: Ashish Thakkar is known for his entrepreneurial ventures across multiple sectors with Mara Group. The group actively supports various ventures and startups, emphasizing advancing business opportunities and development in the region.
- Chris Folayan: Chris is the founder of Mall for Africa, a platform revolutionising cross-border e-commerce in Africa. The company enables Africans to shop online from over 250 US and UK retailers, offering a seamless and secure platform for international purchases.
- Jason Njoku: Jason is a Nigerian-British social entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of IrokoTV, a web-based platform providing on-demand access to free and paid-for Nigerian films. He is also the founder of IROKO Partners, an online Nigerian entertainment media distribution company offering online media products.
- Tayo Oviosu: Tayo is the founder and CEO of Paga, a Lagos-based mobile money service that was launched in Nigeria in April 2009. He is widely recognised for his contributions to African innovation and is part of the wave of African innovators returning to the continent. In addition to his Fintech startup, Tayo co-founded Kairos Angels, an angel investment club.
- Omar Cissé: Omar is a Senegalese entrepreneur and investor with a focus on fintech and the growth of the African entrepreneurial landscape. He serves as the CEO and founder of InTouch, a fintech startup based in Dakar. Additionally, he is a co-founder of Teranga Capital, an investment fund designed to provide crucial support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Senegal. Known for his strategic acumen and grasp of financial technology, he plays a pivotal role in bolstering Senegalese SMEs in their business pursuits.
- Eric Thimba: Eric is the Founder of Mookh Africa, a tech company dedicated to building platforms that help African creatives monetise their work. He also founded The Ideas Company, an African ideation think tank, and Ujuaji Podcast, a platform aimed at providing thought leadership to young Africans through thought-provoking discussions. The ultimate goal is to inspire youth-led ideas and solutions for building a better Africa.