Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Face of Technology in Nigeria

Women in Nigeria “Breaking the Code”

I loved reading this article about women in Nigeria who are changing the face of tech in the country!

The tech sector is growing. There are not enough trained men available.

Westport beach scene yesterday

Westport beach scene yesterday

The article says, “Within this growth, women are emerging as influential forces, and changing the face of technology in Africa, especially in the fields of agricultural and financial tech. This is despite the fact that, as recently as a decade ago, women were grossly underrepresented in and excluded from the industries they are now helping to shape.”

Lagos and its environs is a hotbed for women in the tech field, but women are in other locations as well.

Women have been working for years, but now entering industries once thought the field for men only. Several have formed organizations to support others.

The writer says, “Nnenna Nwakanma [is] a Nigerian activist for accessible internet. ‘There were situations where people would refuse to recognise my authority, but would patronise or objectify me, or refuse to fulfil contracts they had willingly entered into – all because of my gender.’ Despite this, Nwakanma co-founded the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) and is now a senior policy manager for the World Wide Web Foundation, where she supports digital equality and promotes the rights of Nigerian women online.”

Can you hear me cheering?

“. . . computing and engineering are still industries dominated heavily by men. But many women who work in the tech industry are keen to offer support to those coming up,” the writer says.

Venture Capital and Start-ups in Nigeria

Flowers outside Sunset Grille in Norwalk yesterday

Flowers outside Sunset Grille in Norwalk yesterday

The whole area of entrepreneurial activity is also getting encouragement.

story in the blog “Africa in Transition,” reports on an effort to encourage start-ups. An announcement from The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has announced a government initiative to inspire entrepreneurship and innovation among talented young Nigerians.

Entertainment, including Nollywood, and telecommunications are extremely active fields today. Film and telecoms are contributing heavily to the country’s GDP, and are expected to increase their influence in the economy.

The government’s investment is small – $1 million – but there are other sources of capital, the writer says. Especially important today as the oil price remains low, and the economy needs other drivers.

“The African Business Angel Network has emerged as a way to get more people excited about future investments in the continent as it continues to diversify away from extractive industries and agriculture.”

That’s a good thing! Now with more women having tech skills, they can also become entrepreneurs and really help the economy grow.

President Buhari’s Absence

Nigeria’s President Buhari has been out of the country for more than 100 days this year. And we are only in August.

Voice of American online reported on a movement in the country to protest his absence. I’ve seen it mentioned for a week or more. “Resume or Resign,” some are saying.

Charly Boy at Legacies of Biafra Conference

Charly Boy at Legacies of Biafra Conference

Charly Boy, whom I met in London in April, led a march in Abuja in the last few days. When violence threatened, he called it off, saying they will return.

“We are not deterred by the intimidation and harassment by the sponsored thugs and we cannot be cowed by a few . . .people,” he said.

Buhari has never said what medical condition is causing him to stay in London for treatment.

According to the VOA article, “Nigeria’s constitution requires a two-third’s vote of the president’s Cabinet, as well as confirmation by a medical panel that the president is ‘incapable of discharging the functions of his office,’ before he can be removed.” There is no stipulation on how long the president can be absent from the country.

But isn’t it time for him to return or say he is too ill to continue?

Baker’s Dozen Book Club Lunch

Our book group of nine, no longer one dozen

Our book group of nine, no longer one dozen

I’ve written about my book groups several times. Yesterday the group called Baker’s Dozen held its annual gathering.

This time it was a lunch instead of the usual dinner to enable better attention. One of our beloved members is not in great health and we knew afternoon would be easier for her than an evening event. And she made it!

We also had three guests. One was my sister Beth who is visiting from Cincinnati. Another was Judy’s granddaughter Earlise, who is entering seventh grade this fall in Boston. The third was Elizabeth’s daughter-in-law Juliet who lives in California.

Most of us with our guests

Most of us with our three guests

Rochelle had arranged the place – Sunset Grille, at Norwalk Connecticut’s Calf Pasture Beach area.

To reach the restaurant we had to drive through a boatyard. The huge motor and sailboats were amazing to see. My sister spotted lobster pots as we drove in.

And the food and conversation were wonderful. We talked books for a few minutes, but mostly talked about our lives, learned about our guests, and shared summer experiences.


Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.

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