Africa and South America are often classified together as developing continents, but in the area of technological advancements and innovative developments using home-grown technology, Latin American countries seem to have made a lot more progress than their African counterparts. In many areas especially healthcare, alternative energy and in the ICT
Monthly Archives: January 2013
In 2012, Africa has forecasted average growth rate of around five percent. But even with the growth in the African continent, novice and established entrepreneurs are still having a hard time finding sustainable financing. Because
This week we are in New York with Liz Ngonzi, Entrepreneur in Residence at Cornell University and Founder of Amazing Taste, LLC. Liz has a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems with a concentration in Telecommunications Systems from Syracuse University, holds a Masters degree from Cornell University and graduated from the United Nations International School. Among those who know her, Liz is known for her great sense of humor, easy smile and for being a stickler for details with a great work ethic. She also loves preparing and sampling cuisines, and is also known as one of the original ‘IT Girls”.
10 years ago, Liz left her Manhattan business consulting career with Arthur Andersen to fulfill her dream of entrepreneurship and making an impact. In this Interview Elizabeth shared her passion for Africa, her dedication to women’s empowerment through education, entrepreneurship and technology.
SiliconAfrica (SA): Good Morning, Liz! In your keynote speech @iSchoolSU Orange Central in November 2012, you addressed the audience on a topic that is close to you heart “Women in Tech in Africa, The New Faces of Development”. Do you see more and more African women in tech in Africa or here in USA?
Liz Ngonzi (Liz): While I currently see more women in tech in the US, I would like to see more in Africa and elsewhere, because I believe that in order for African women to have more choices about how they live their lives, they need to become more financially independent and I see careers in tech as potentially the most well-paying and most relevant given our world’s increasing dependence on new technology.
SA: Women represent a small number of technology startup founders and investors, but you are quite confident things will change. At SXSW 2012, last spring, you extensively talked about this during the panel you co-organized: “Africa, Tech & Women: The New Faces of Development”. Can you give us some incidents to illustrate our optimism?
Liz: My optimism about the potential increase in the number of women founding and investing in tech startups stems from three facts that I believe are enabling factors:
- Existing Formal Entrepreneurial Activity by African Women: African women represent a relatively high percentage of formal businesses continent-wide: 49% in Ghana, 46% in Botswana, 36% in Kenya and 19% in Egypt, alone.
- Increased Access to Information and Opportunities for African Women’s Voices to Be Heard: Africa has become the second largest mobile market behind Asia, and the number of applications developed even on basic feature phones has significantly increased the way in which Africans solve business, health, education and other pertinent challenges. Some of these applications are being developed by women who participate programs born out of the 45+ collaborative tech spaces / incubators on the continent. Examples include Kenya’s AkiraChix, Women in Technology Uganda (WitU), Zambia’s Bongo Hive, The Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC), in Nigeria, and the FemTanz Program, in Tanzania