The latest high-profile scandals in Silicon Valley highlight that the battle for gender equity in the United States is far from won. Despite the tech industry’s progressive reputation, its track record for hiring, promoting and funding women is bleak: Only 17 percent of American startups have female founders.
But, halfway across the globe in tech hubs like Lagos, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya, 46 percent of African ventures have a female founder and prospects for closing the gender gap there are high. International investors looking to realize outsized returns and social impact would be well-served to look to the female entrepreneurs driving Africa’s venture growth.
What’s going on in Africa?
Ironically, because the Africa tech sector is still nascent and not yet labeled as a male-dominated field, women find fewer barriers to success than in many of the high-status corporate jobs on the continent that are still, discouragingly, controlled by men. Partially driven by necessity, women across the region have long dominated entrepreneurial activity through informal markets and cross-border trade of goods and services. Risk-taking and selling are already in their blood, and women are now taking this experience and applying it to the digital world.
In this Entrepreneur article, alongside other African female entrepreneurs, MainOne CEO, Funke Opeke is featured for her role in bringing broadband connectivity to Nigeria, and seven other West African countries and all her efforts in building the African tech ecosystem.