Africa is in the middle of a tech boom. As more resources become available and its growing youth population learns to innovate, information technology is poised to become one of the continent’s most important sectors.
But it’s not perfect. According to a conversation published by Global Voices, countries in Africa have a lot of work to do to support not just the industry, but the women in the industry -- Africa’s “geekettes.”
“The African geekette is still too rare, but she’s also an incredible reservoir of ideas, projects and progress,” said Julie Owono, a lawyer from Cameroon and a contributor to publications like Quartz and Global Voices.
“We’re seeing more and more programs being developed to encourage girls to choose technical careers, and these women, particularly in younger generations, have a different idea of their place in the world of new media and their relationship to new media,” she said.
“The main weakness is that the administration in Cameroon hasn’t yet understood technology,” she added. It’s a common complaint.
Marian Diaby, an entrepreneur based in Cote D’Ivoire, agrees that infrastructure is a major problem for everyone in tech.
“In Cote d’Ivoire, there are geeks, IT technicians, and people who like technology,” she said. But “access to technology isn’t good enough for a geek culture to really get off the ground.” She added that there have been more and more forums and events that have been helpful, and progress is being made.
“I think African women have known how to find a place for themselves in recent years,” said Diaby. “There is no difference between women and men, what’s important is their skills,” she added.