5 Africans under 30 who are breaking technology barriers in 2019

July 04, 2019 at 02:00 pm | Tech & Innovation

Adom Tabbey-Botchwey

Adom Tabbey-Botchwey | Contributor

July 04, 2019 at 02:00 pm | Tech & Innovation

Nthabiseng Mosia, 28, Sierra Leone, Co-founder and CMO: Easy Solar

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention and as the needs of people grow by the day, it becomes imperative to find new ways of satisfying them.

The Forbes Africa list of young Africans employing technology to cater to the needs of people was recently released and here are five of them:

1.Nthabiseng Mosia, 28, Sierra Leone, Co-founder and CMO: Easy Solar

While pursuing her Masters in Energy, Finance and Policy at Columbia University in 2014, Mosia met the co-founders of Easy Solar and decided to pursue it. Her friends and family thought she was crazy for passing up the potential for a well-paid, secure job in order to start a company in Sierra Leone. Her co-founders and herself submitted their business plan to several different competitions and won two major ones. The grants from the wins allowed them to conduct an energy survey across Sierra Leone and pilot the business to customers.

Today, Easy Solar supplies, installs and services all variety of solar systems. They also sell solar PV panels, PV mounting structures, solar charge controllers, solar inverters, lead-acid and Li-Ion batteries. Easy Solar has also expanded to Liberia, and plans to expand into Guinea in the next few years, true to their goal of reducing energy poverty.

2. Evans Akanno, 29, Nigeria, Founder and CEO: Cregital

Evans Akanno is the founder and CEO of Cregital, a creative and digital agency that nurtures talents and helps brands make smart impressions. He has worked with e-commerce platforms Jumia and Konga, as social media strategist and creative strategist. He started the company with a team of four persons – himself, a project manager, graphic designer and web developer. Today, it is one of the most thriving startups in Nigeria. Prior to starting Cregital, Evans founded Zegist, an online community “for open conversations on anything and everything”.

In October 2016, Cregital was awarded Best Website Development Company of the Year by the Nigeria Technology Awards. Evans also won the Creative Professional of the Year award at the 2016 edition of The Future Awards Africa, and the Tech Young Achiever of the Year award at the 2018 Nigeria Technology Awards. Last year, he founded another tech platform, called Farmkart, which enables people to bank in agriculture by investing in fish farming. In the same year, he also launched Acts of Random Kindness, Cregital’s CSR initiative to give back to the community.

3. Michael Paul Mollel, 29, Tanzania, Co-founder and Executive Chairman: Jimz Technologies Co. Ltd

According to the Forbes Africa site, Michael started providing IT support when he was only 15 years old and would sell IT equipment such as dongles and flash drives to students and professors. In 2015, while pursuing an MBA, he noticed that both students and professors had problems with their laptops and had nowhere reliable to get them fixed. So, he created Jimz Technologies Co. Ltd with enough money to only pay for the first month’s rent, a chair and a table. A year later, the business started to look up as the number of people in need of IT support grew. Now, they operate globally, providing IT support services for international companies such as Tetra Tech and Winrock International. The team has grown from two to ten and sales have picked up. Mollel plans to open an office in another part of the country next year.

4. Nureshka Viranna, 27, South Africa, Co-founder and Director: ShopLi

She started out as a teacher, having studied for 4 years to get a Bachelor of Education specializing in the Foundation Phase. She resigned from her job as a teacher because she found the routine unfulfilling, and co-founded ShopLi, an e-commerce company that designs and develops online stores and catalogues for businesses that can’t afford high rentals or to pay salaries, giving them the ability to sell to anyone in the world and operate around the clock. Last year after having found a gap online in the teaching and learning of Afrikaans, she founded another business in 2019 called Lit Academy, an online course focusing on video and study guides to help learners improve their marks, making quality education available to learners at a fraction of the cost of tuition

5. Jacob Rugano, 29, Kenya, Co-founder and director: AfricarTrack International

After one of his cousins was involved in an accident caused by a lorry driver who was drunk-driving and over-speeding, Rugano started a tech company as a solution to help curb road accidents and in 2014, AfricarTrack International was born.

They have created a programmed chip to be installed inside cars to connect them to the reporting and control system which collects data on whether the driver has been driving drunk and carelessly, as well as the location of the vehicle if hijacked. The company has won numerous awards including the Change Maker of the Year at the 2016 African Achievers Awards in Sandton, South Africa. In 2016, he was also listed among the Top 40 Under 40 Men in Kenya by Business Daily. He plans to expand to South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria and install the technology in at least two million vehicles in Kenya.

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