Africa’s top tech-preneurs to watch

Going by recent international coverage, Africa has the attention of the West as a thriving market that is ready to join partners and help develop socio-economic conditions.

Herman Chinery-Hesse, co-founder of SOFTtribe, has been described as "the Bill Gates of Africa" (image: Tech4Africa)

The Obama Administration recently unveiled enhancements to the country’s Africa foreign policy, indicating plans for renewed economic growth, trade and investment – under the condition of socio-political and economic stability in regions. The policy is generally based on the objective of advancing democracy, open and accountable governance, the promotion of human rights and the rule of law.

It is little wonder that more business developers, innovators and technology entrepreneurs (or ‘tech-preneurs’) are beginning to focus on the continent as a viable and exciting place to ply their trade.

Technology and mobility is widely acknowledged to be the catalyst driving socio-economic development across Africa.

Social networking, social media, smartphones, tablet PCs and new apps being introduced everyday mean that the entrepreneur is empowered with a range of devices to stay connected and build a business.

There is an energy field around global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and telecommunications because innovators and entrepreneurs want to stake a claim in the relevance of advanced systems and infrastructure.

IT News Africa has taken a closer look at the online profiles of Africans who are behind businesses that have already captured the attention of global markets. They have been accredited by internationally recognised and respected business programmes and media houses, including Forbes Africa

Through their efforts, they have already begun to make a name for themselves as top tech-preneurs the world aught to watch.

* Herman Chinery-Hesse, co-founder of SOFTtribe (

He has been dubbed “the Bill Gates of Africa” and “Father of Technology’. Herman Chinery-Hesse is an innovator, disruptor and software pioneer from Ghana. He co-founded SOFTtribe, a leading software developer, based in Accra, Ghana, focused on the implementation of computerised business application systems.

*David Y.B Osei, CEO, Dropifi (

Co-founders behind this web-based messaging platform company have worked hard to establish the business. It has been rated on the Forbes Africa top tech start-up list and was a recipient of a prize at the Accra Startup Weekend.

* Ayodeji Adewunmi, co-founder of Jobberman (

Jobberman is a job website focused on Nigeria, offering search facilities for job seekers and the opportunity for businesses to advertise posts. It has been identified by online industry experts and industry followers as amongst Africa’s top start-up ventures.

* Vincent Maher, co-founder of Motribe (

The company’s website describes the business as “a platform enabling users, brands, agencies and publishers across the world to build and manage their own social communities.” Motribe was co-founded by Vincent Maher, a new media strategist who has established himself within the media and technology industries.

* Mark Allewell, founder and CEO, Hummba (

Mark is part of the team behind Cape-based Hummba, a social and travel networking website that allows users to download free auto travel guides and share travel experiences. The site, which has its roots in Tourism Radio – also started by Mark, is integrated with Facebook and Twitter.

* Barbara Mallinson, founder of Obami (

Obami is an established social learning management system that serves to connect everyone within the education space. Barbara Mallinson is the founder behind this venture, which is listed by Forbes Africa as one of the Top 20 African Tech start-ups and recognised partner of Netexploratuer initiative, amongst the top ten most innovative technologies in the world in 2011.

* Leonard Ah Khun, co-founder of Cobi Interactive (

Together with Steven Preston, Leonard started Cobi Interactive, a Cape-based software development company. Its profile has been posted across a number of established media houses and is also listed by Forbes Africa as amongst the Top 20 African tech start-ups.

* Taha Jiwaji, entrepreneur behind Bongo Live (

This Tanzania-based mobile services company is the brainchild of Taha Jiwaji and his team of dedicated professionals. The offering aims to bring to the country the next level of mobile and SMS-based services. Bongo Live has also been recognised as one of the front-running tech start-ups in Africa.

Chris Tredger