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12 top young African tech leaders of tomorrow

Africa is fast becoming a key global tech market, and many of the tech leaders of tomorrow are emerging from the continent with Africa's international ambitions and potential firmly in their grasp.

Well-educated, innovative and with leadership qualities that make them stand out among their peers, Africa’s current crop of young tech influencers are highly impressive and destined for important roles in the fast-paced world of technology.

Headquartered in the heart of Paris, France, Institut Choiseul for International Politics and Geoeconomics is an independent research center that analyzes international relations, economic and political strategies as well as international cultures.

Institut Choiseul produce the Choiseul Africa 100 Economics Leaders for Tomorow, a report independently identifies and ranks the young African leaders of 40 years old and below, who will play a major role in the continent’s future economic development.

The report suggests that these Africans have the “enthusiasm and dynamism to pull their entire continent on the way to success. This general drive can be seen as a hindrance to the establishment and old elites but remains the promise of a better future.”

We have considered this list and determined the top tech personalities, from techpreneurs to investors, business leaders to top innovators, who are a testament to the growing influence that Africa has in a global context.

Here are 12 top young African tech leaders of tomorrow.

1. Fatoumata Ba

Fatouma Ba is the chief marketing officer of Jumia Group, Africa’s first unicorn. Photo – TheYoungEmpire

Ranked 77th on the Institut Choiseul list, Ba is the 31-year-old Senegalese chief marketing officer for Jumia Group, Africa’s first unicorn startup, which was valued at over $1bn earlier this year. The e-commerce ecosystem serves customers in 23 countries across the continent, and as marketing head, the Toulouse Business School graduate shapes the message that goes out to customers all over Africa.

2. Vinny Lingham

Vinny Lingham is a South African tech entrepreneur. Photo: Twitter

Vinny Lingham is a 38-year-old South African tech entrepreneur who is the co-founder and CEO of Civic, an identity protection and management startup. He previously founded Gyft, a mobile gift card company backed by Google Ventures, selling it to First Data Corporation for around $54m. Lingham is also the co-founder of SiliconCape, which aims to support tech startups in Cape Town. He features in the South African versions of reality TV investment shows Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den, and is ranked 78th according to Institut Choiseul.

3. Amrote Abdella

Ethiopian Amrote Abdella is regional director for Microsoft 4Afrika. Photo – Addis Insight

Ethiopian 35-year-old Abdella is the regional director of Microsoft 4Afrika, the tech giant’s initiative to develop affordable access, skills and innovation on the African continent. In her role, the Davidson College and Brandeis University alumnus oversees Microsoft’s investments in Africa, furthering the company’s efforts on the continent and scaling their work across different markets. She is ranked 12th on the Institut Choiseul list.

4. Ronald Karauri

Captain Ronald Karauri is the CEO of Kenya’s biggest sports betting company, SportPesa. Photo – Twitter

Karauri is the CEO of Kenya’s highly successful online sports betting company, SportPesa. The 38-year-old former commercial pilot, with over 10 years of flying experience, invested in the online sports betting firm and has played a leadership role in the company since 2015. Success has followed, with SportPesa now operating in Europe and sponsoring sport across the globe, hence his ranking at 22 on the list.

5. Ashish Thakkar

Ashish Thakkar is a Ugandan entrepreneur and sure to be one of the tech leaders of tomorrow. Photo:

Ugandan investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist Thakkar is followed by a whopping 1.02 million Twitter followers, which says a great deal about his ability to be a tech influencer on social media, and translates to a 24th place Institut Choiseul ranking. The 36-year-old is the founder of Mara Group, a pan-African conglomerate with interests in internet, telecom and communications, property, manufacturing and finance.

6. Danson Muchemi

JamboPay founder and CEO Danson Muchemi is one of the tech leaders of tomorrow. Photo – MindSky

Muchemi, the founder and CEO of JamboPay, Kenya’s leading online payment gateway, is an impressive techpreneur. At 33 years of age, Muchemi is the youngest man on this list of tech leaders of tomorrow, ranking 48th. The Kenyatta University graduate has grown the company from a simple startup to a company with over 100 employees, serving thousands of clients and working with partners such as Vodacom, Visa and Mastercard.

7. Alan Knott-Craig

Alan Knott-Craig Jr is a telecoms entrepreneur from SA. Photo: Hetty Zantman/Getty Images

Alan Knott-Craig is a South African entrepreneur who is heavily involved in efforts to bring free Wi-Fi to Africa. He is the founder of Project Isizwe as well as executive chairman of Hero Telecoms, Ever Africa, and Happimo NPC. The Institut Choiseul ranks him 84th on the continent as an economic leader. Telecoms is in his blood, as his father Alan Knott-Craig senior is a former CEO of two mobile operators in South Africa, Vodacom, and Cell C.

8. Genevieve Sangudi

Genevieve Sangudi is an influential African managing director. Photo – JamiiForums

The highest ranked tech personality on the Institut Choiseul list, Sangudi is seventh out of the 100. She is the managing director of Carlyle Group Africa, a global asset management firm with interests in various sectors including tech, telecoms and alternative energy. The Tanzanian determines buyout and growth opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa, with investments in recent years including stakes in Johannesburg-based telecom company CMC Networks Ltd and Nigeria’s Diamond Bank. Sangudi has an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

9. Bony Dashaco

Bony Dashaco is CEO of Acmar Media Group and one of the African tech leaders of the future. Photo – Wikipedia

Ninth overall on the Institut Choiseul list this year, the London School of Business and Finance-educated Dashaco is CEO of Acmar Media Group. The 40-year-old Cameroon native is in charge of a leading media firm in West and Central Africa, focusing on news coverage, big data, digital media and more. In 2016 Dashaco was ranked 29 in a Forbes list of 100 economic leaders in Africa.

10. Mwamvita Makamba

Mwamvita Makamba is the managing director for Vodafone Africa. Photo – Nuruthelight

Makamba is in a powerful position in the continent’s telecoms landscape as managing director for Vodafone Africa, placing her 82nd on the overall Institut Choiseul list. The Tanzanian 37-year-old studied at the University of Dar Es Salaam, and was a business manager at Vodafone Africa between 2012 and 2014 before she became managing director.

11. Ange Diagou

Ivorian Ange Diagou is NSIA Technologies managing director. Photo – YouTube

Managing director for Ivorian software company NSIA Technologies, 36-year-old Diagou is in charge of a tech company with operations in 12 African countries. Having served as deputy managing editor for the company from its establishment in 2012 until 2015, he then took over as managing director and is thriving in the role. For his success thus far and future potential, he has earned a ranking of 81 on the Institut Choiseul list.

12. Adetoye Aguessy

Adetoye Aguessy is the CEO of RightCom Technologies in Nigeria. Photo – Telecom Saint-Etienne

Adetoye Aguessy is an entrepreneur from Benin and CEO at RightCom Technologies in Nigeria, who attended Université de Sherbrooke. RightCom Technologies is a software company that aims to build applications and services that improve the customer experience for clients. Aguessy is experienced in the tech, telecom and IT sectors, reflecting his potential as a economic leader of tomorrow with a ranking of 91 in the Institut Choiseul list.

This article was originally published on

Sources: InstitutChoiseul, Bloomberg, Globalshapers, Naibuzz, Forbes.

About Peter Pedroncelli

I am a South African journalist with a passion for football.
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