Is the African Tech Ecosystem Truly a Level Playing Field for Men and Women?
Africa’s digital economy has taken off exponentially, driven mainly by its young and vibrant population which is championing the adoption of urbanized technology in virtually every field of industry and community impact. Following these latest developments, growth experts have projected that global companies looking to access new growth markets must begin to look towards the African continent, as it offers exciting and endless opportunities.
According to Statista, Kenya’s internet penetration stood at approximately 85.2% as of December 2020. This high rate of activity is partly due to the presence of M-Pesa, the mobile payment company which is majority-owned by East Africa’s leading telco Safaricom. The secure payment system offered by M-Pesa encourages internet access in the country. The Statista report also shows that as of October 2020, most web traffic in leading digital markets in Africa originated from mobile devices in Nigeria, one of the countries with the largest number of internet users worldwide.
Meanwhile, despite Africa’s readiness to take over the world’s digital space, the issues surrounding gender stereotyping against women in the tech space and lack of visible role models have led to women and girls remaining woefully under-represented in the tech ecosystem.
The KudaBank Scenario
Nigerian digital bank, Kudabank, recently called for women to apply for its internship programme. After the deadline, the bank said that it had received unsolicited applications from men instead of women. There was predictable pushback and the bank was accused of gender bias. This led to discussions from Twitter Spaces to Clubhouse and even a subliminal message by rival digital bank, VBank.
But Kuda defended its decision. According to the startup, there are more men than women working with them and they needed to close that gender gap as quickly as possible. Justifying their action, they hinted that they have internships for everyone but this exclusive internship is one of the ways they celebrate Women’s Month. At least the bank is open enough to tell the world the gender gap in their company and is ready to close the gap…
EDITOR’S NOTE: For the rest of this article and other amazing stories of African female entrepreneurs, read our Top 30 African Women Entrepreneurs and Influencers below.
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