Cryptocurrency adoption is growing massively in the African continent. This is quite evident through the rate of increase in crypto asset ownership, crypto trading and crypto education in the continent. Arcane Research and Luno published a report that revealed that Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, and Kenya are frequently among the top 10 countries by Google searches for the word “Bitcoin.” The drive for crypto adoption in Africa has been championed by many crypto enthusiasts and evangelists. In this article, we would be looking at the top ten women that have contributed immensely to positioning the African continent on the vanguard of cryptocurrency adoption.
Caveat: The arrangement of the list does not suggest a hierarchical categorisation of the level of impact made by the women on the list.
Monica Singer (South Africa)
Sick and tired of corruption in various arms of government, Monica Singer, a Chartered Accountant and Auditor was determined to end or reduce corruption in government. This explains her quest for a better method to change the status quo. In 2015, she heard about bitcoin and blockchain in a conference, and after going through the Satoshi bitcoin white paper, she concluded that blockchain was the solution she had been seeking. She was the first CEO of South Africa’s Central Securities Depository (CSD), Strate (Pty) Ltd, but resigned in August 2017 so she could concentrate on bringing blockchain technology to all relevant South African industries. In October 2017, Monica was appointed as the South African Lead for Consensys, the biggest blockchain company in the world. In June 2018, Monica was appointed board member of the Global Legal Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) based in Switzerland. In May 2019, Monica was appointed to represent Consensys on the Accounting Blockchain Coalition (ABC) board. Monica Singer has used her influence in the financial sector to push for blockchain adoption in Africa.
Alakanani Itireleng (Botswana)
Alakanani Itireleng is a bitcoin enthusiast, evangelist and educator in Botswana, Africa. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education. With 10 years of experience in the Education field, Alakanani turned her vast experience in the field of Education into a goldmine. She became the first bitcoin evangelist in Botswana, starting in October 2013 with a successful first bitcoin meetup. She discovered it whilst researching online for opportunities to generate new income. Alakanani Itireleng is the founder of a blockchain hub in Botswana called ‘Satoshicentre’. Through her hub— Satoshicentre, she works with developers in order to create an avenue to increase the understanding of bitcoin and blockchain technology, and to get developers in Botswana to use this technology to bring solutions to the problems that are faced by Africans. One of the major missions of Satoshicentre is to build an African blockchain hub that would incubate blockchain-based startups and would function as an online marketplace to connect Blockchain startups to investors. Her invaluable efforts in seeing that bitcoin and blockchain become a household name in Botswana and other parts of Africa, have earned her a spot on this list.
Imen Ayari (Tunisia)
Imen Ayari is an Engineer and Executive MBA graduate from the Mediterranean School of Business. She possesses vast experience in the Fintech sector, and has worked in reputable companies such as Ubitrade, Gltrade, Fis and Sunagrd. She is the Chief Blockchain Officer and Head of Innovation at the Talan Innovation Factory, a company that represents the research and development department of Talan, Tunisia. It explores and provides expertise on disruptive technologies mainly Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things(IoT) and data science. As a strong believer in the synergy and the open collaboration between professionals, academicians and students, Imen Ayari has been active in challenging frontiers inside the local and global blockchain community by catalyzing knowledge sharing and mentoring, and by identifying and evaluating business opportunities. The contributions of Imen Ayari to the drive for cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption in Africa, have been undisputed. Hence, the need to include her on this list.
Roselyn Gicira Mwangi (Kenya)
Roselyn Gicira Mwangi is the Chairperson of the Blockchain Association of Kenya and also the Head of the Kenyan Women in Blockchain. The Blockchain Association of Kenya serves as one of the major foundations and catalysts for the blockchain awareness that currently exists in Kenya and East Africa. Under the leadership of Roselyn Gicira Mwangi, the Blockchain Association of Kenya has been a pace-setter for other blockchain communities and networks in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda. This association establishes strategic partnerships with organisations in order to roll out educational programs for the public. The programs range from the simple understanding and application of blockchain technology, to actual courses for developers. Through her efforts in bringing blockchain technology and cryptocurrency to Kenya, many Kenyan women have embraced blockchain technology. These women now trade and invest in cryptocurrencies.
Olayinka Odeniran (Nigeria)
Olayinka Odeniran is the Co-founder, Black Women Blockchain Council (BWBC). As a highly respected financial services risk management expert and renowned international attorney who specializes in blockchain, cryptocurrency and emerging technologies, Olayinka has been a major evangelist of blockchain and cryptocurrency adoption in Africa. She utilises her qualification, an M.Sc in Cybersecurity Management, Policy and Blockchain Technology, in order to provide consultancy services for financial institutions. In her role as Co-founder of Black Women Blockchain Council, Olayinka strives to increase the number of young girls and black women in blockchain, fintech and other emerging technologies. She is also a digital content writer and has produced several informative and engaging articles for major online global magazines. Olayinka Odeniran is another Nigerian woman whose efforts in driving cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption in Africa, are highly commendable.
Naomi Snyman (South Africa)
Naomi Snyman is the Blockchain Lead at Standard Bank Group and the Chair for the South African Financial Blockchain Consortium. Her impact in driving blockchain adoption has not only been felt within Africa, but far beyond the shores of the continent. This is because she currently works as the representative of Standard Bank at the International R3 Consortium, which creates and drives Blockchain projects across member banks around the world. Naomi is an ardent blockchain enthusiast and evangelist who sees the technology as revolutionary. According to her, “If we think about how the Internet started, we didn’t understand why we needed it or how it even worked; but it has completely revolutionized our lives. The same counts for Blockchain.” Naomi Snyman is another leading figure who is passionately driving blockchain adoption in Africa.
Michelle Chivunga Nsunsumuco (Zambia)
Michelle Chivunga Nsunsumuco is the Founder, CEO, and Investor at Global Policy House and also the Senior Advisor to the Government of Bermuda, a Global Fintech Advisory Board. She is a digital transformation/ blockchain professional and investor, with major access to an extensive network of global stakeholders in the digital economy and financing space. Michelle is one of the early birds that embraced cryptocurrency and blockchain technology as far back as 2009 and has since then, been leading in evaluating the growth of the digital economy and potentials of emerging technologies such as Blockchain/DLT, AI, Quantum computing, Big Data and others. Michelle previously worked for the British Bankers Association of the UK (now UK Finance), where she managed a range of corporate financing projects and worked with several global stakeholders. Michelle currently works across borders to evaluate the impact of emerging technologies on different segments of the society; including women, businesses and governments.
Sonya Kuhnel (South Africa)
Sonya Kuhnel is the COO and co- founder of Bitsure. She is the current co-owner of Bitcoin Events (Pty) Ltd, Co-owner of Blockchain Academy (Pty) Ltd. Her Blockchain academy provides training for financial institutions, corporates, developers, entrepreneurs, startups, schools and government. The academy also trains attendees on blockchain and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and how to use this technology to innovate and better prepare for the future. Bitsure is another avenue Sonya Kuhnel uses to drive bitcoin and blockchain adoption in Africa. Bitsure provides an innovative payment solution by utilizing the blockchain technology to link customer profiles to fiat-backed cryptocurrency transactions in order for financial institutions to create a secure and instantaneous, low-cost payment process to its customers. Through her various blockchain and cryptocurrency platforms, Sonya Kuhnel has played important role in giving Africans the opportunity to explore the innovative blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
Doris Ojuederie (Nigeria)
Doris Ojuederie is the Founder of Blockchain Ladies Africa. Ladies Africa is an all-female group that focuses on bringing blockchain education to African Women, with the aim of fostering financial empowerment and inclusion. It is an Organization of women that spans across Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Cameroon, Egypt and many others. This cryptocurrency Icon intends to build stronger ladies who will bring about great innovations from blockchain technology. Through her organization, she encourages and promotes blockchain startups by African women. The regular meet-ups, workshops, conferences, mentorship programmes and Telegram forums organized by her organization are open to all African women; including corporate managers, women investors and career ladies. Doris Ojuederie is a Nigerian blockchain expert certified by the Blockchain Council, who derives satisfaction in educating African ladies on how to utilize blockchain technology to attain financial empowerment. Her role in cryptocurrency adoption in Africa, cannot be overemphasised.
Yaliwe Soko (South Africa)
Yaliwe Soko is one of the few young South African women to be fully involved in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Her interest in blockchain started in 2016 and she has since, functioned in the capacity of a freelance Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Consultant for an online investment firm. She is a seasoned YouTuber who has harnessed her qualification as a training facilitator and assessor, in order to create a number of YouTube tutorials. She is the chairwoman at United African Blockchain Association, an organization which has the vision to educate one million people across the African continent about the impact of blockchain technology over the coming years through its events and training programs. Yaliwe Soko is another industrious and visionary blockchain evangelist whose enormous efforts toward cryptocurrency and blockchain technology adoption in Africa, have included her on the list.
Without a doubt, many women across Africa have done remarkably well in driving the adoption of blockchain technology on the continent. However, these ten women have been quite extraordinary in this quest.