International Women’s Day (IWD) offers women all over the world an occasion to assert their identity, accomplishments, and collective progress. It’s a time when we spotlight women who are making strides in various industries. The theme for this year is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” emphasising the importance of technology, equity and self-love in the digital era. The theme also urges global leaders to make the digital world more accessible and accommodating to women.
Women have made significant contributions to technology since the beginning of time. However, women continue to face marginalisation in the tech industry. A 2021 report reveals “startups led by female single founders and female-only founding teams have raised less than 1% of the total raised on the continent by African startups”. Tech leaders need to acknowledge the obstacles women face and provide more opportunities for funding and female participation and representation in the digital world.
For international women’s day this year, leading lCT company, MTN Nigeria is highlighting and celebrating 27 women in the ICT sector. These women have made great impacts in their lives and careers and are using their knowledge to influence this generation of women.
1. Abisola O. Laseinde, Founder, The CIO Club, Africa
A legal-tech enthusiast, Abisola is the founder of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) club and awards which honours IT experts excelling in their roles and driving IT growth in Africa. She is a governance and business operations expert and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer at Edniesal Consulting, a business consulting firm. She believes that good CIOs are pivotal to advancing organisations.
2. Adedoyin Odunfa, Founder/CEO at Digital Jewels Ltd
Adedoyin is a techpreneur and founder of IT governance, risk management and compliance consulting firm, Digital Jewels. She is passionate about IT and business management and has given 30 years of her career to the IT industry; spanning Information/Cyber Security, IT Governance, Risk & Compliance, and Business Strategy amongst other roles.
3. Adia Sowho Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria
Adia is the face of MTN’s brand refresh in Nigeria (which highlights the company’s ambitions and 2025 targets, aimed at leading digital platforms for Africa’s progress), Adia made history as the first female Chief Marketing Officer of MTN Nigeria.
A former CEO, tech venture builder, and operator, she also sits on the Board of various companies. She is an experienced global executive who leverages her background in engineering, consulting, and product development to build and operate leading category-defining businesses. With deep expertise spanning technology, telecommunications, and finance, she has successfully designed, built, and scaled tech-driven platform companies in emerging markets valued at over USD $100+ million.
Prior to joining MTN, Adia was the interim CEO of ThriveAgric where she was appointed to guide the company through a turnaround exercise in 2020. Before her appointment at ThriveAgric, she was the VP for Growth at Migo (formerly Mines.io) in San Francisco, CA. She joined the team to act as the Managing Director for Migo’s Nigerian Office.
She also worked at Etisalat Nigeria (9mobile) for more than seven years where she held positions such as Head, Strategy and Business Development, Head of Digital Media, and Director of Digital Business. Prior to that, she worked as a consultant at Deloitte Consulting for about two years and Radio Frequency Engineer at US Cellular for about seven years.
Adia holds a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Electrical Engineering with a major in Communications from the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom and a Master of Business Administration from Kellogg School of Management with majors in Strategy, Analytical Consulting, Strategic Marketing and Entrepreneurship.
She supports Africa’s tech ecosystems as a startup mentor and speaker, working with various Africa-focused VC firms to better prepare their portfolios for scale. She’s currently an advisor to Zimbali Networks, One Health, and venture funds Ventures Platform and Rally Cap. She made history in 2021 shattering glass ceilings to become the first female Chief Marketing Officer at MTN. She has spent her career designing, building, and scaling tech businesses and she’s passionate about revolutionising communication.
4. A’isha Mumuni, Chief Digital Officer, MTN Nigeria
A’isha spends her time managing a team of people who are using technology and data to push MTN forward. With a vast array of qualifications and innovative digital solutions under her belt at MTN, she has made her mark in the digital services division by contributing to this division since it was formed. She has been pivotal to the growth of digital business services in MTN and Nigeria. She keeps MTN up to date with digital trends and makes sure the company remains a leader in digital innovation.
5. Bukola Ajayi, General Manager, Architecture and Engineering, MTN Nigeria
Bukola is a business and technology professional who has built a career leveraging her skills in business analysis, strategy and planning, application development, and people management. She has a career in MTN spanning two decades, where she has in the past provided business design service models for enterprise solutions, enterprise-wide process optimization and re-engineering with automation and digitisation, ensured product, service, platform, and overall design is aligned with architectural principles and business requirements of the Information Systems in the organisation.
6. Elizabeth Eterigho, President, Association of Professional Women Engineers in Nigeria (APWEN)
Senior Lecturer at the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Elizabeth has been an Academic researcher for 28 years. She is passionate about sustainable and renewable energy and getting more girls in STEM. APWEN sponsors scholarships for girls to study STEM courses at universities. They also provide training, coaching, and mentoring for young girls and help female engineers get employed in their fields.
7. Funke Opeke, CEO, MainOne Cable
Founder of MainOne Cable companies, Funke Opeke has been passionate about improving communications in Africa. After working for two decades in the US including communications company Verizon, she returned to Nigeria and began working in Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL). Her passion has been to fix telecommunications in Nigeria. Her company, MainOne built the first privately-owned submarine network in West Africa extending 7,000 kilometres from Portugal to Lagos, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire and connecting West Africa to other major business communities. As CEO of Main One, she has raised over $240 million in funding and led her company from a fledgling startup to a multimillion-dollar communications giant which was acquired by Equinix for $320 million in 2021.
8. Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Country Manager, Google, Nigeria
Juliet was one of Forbes’ 2011 “20 Youngest Power Women In Africa” and has been featured in BBC Africa’s Power Women series and CNN’s Innovate for her accomplishments. A high-achiever, she has worked as a Program Manager at Microsoft, General Manager, Strategic Business Units at Chams PLC, and now at Google as Country Director, leading business strategy in West Africa. As a go-getter herself, she champions opportunity for others through her initiative called Beyond Limits Africa which offers coaching, leadership programs, and workshops to individuals in Africa.
9. Kofo Akinkugbe, OON, Founder/Group CEO, SecureID Ltd
Kofo has made her mark in the African technology ecosystem as the founder and leader of the smart card manufacturing company SecureID. She was awarded the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) award in 2022 for her excellence at SecureID and the company’s contributions to digital innovation in the country.
10. Lola Masha, Deputy Managing Director, Babban Gona
Lola is the co-founder and deputy managing director for Babban Gona in Nigeria. Lola has had a notable career in technology with experiences in Google and Nigerian start-ups OLX and Babban Gona. She has been focused on entrepreneurship in Africa for over a decade, empowering young entrepreneurs in agriculture and e-commerce.
11. Lynda Saint-Nwafor, Chief Enterprise Business Officer, MTN Nigeria
A graduate of Engineering, Lynda obtained her BSc from Enugu State University in 1996, and became a valuable addition to the MTN team when she joined as Systems Planning Engineer in the Networks Division in 2002.
Lynda began her career in 1994, as a Trainee System Analyst with Data Sciences Nigeria Limited, where she amassed a wealth of experience, before leaving to head the Engineering, Development & Project Management Department at EMIS Telecoms Nigeria in 2001.
Since joining MTN Nigeria in 2002, she has been on the rise. In 2011, she became the Chief Technical Officer, the first woman to occupy this position in the country. In June 2016, she assumed the position of Chief Enterprise Business Officer, where she currently steers the ship that leads enterprise and ICT strategy in MTN. She has also served in various key advisory positions such as being a Member of the Presidential Committee for Broadband development instituted by Former President Goodluck Jonathan.
With over 20 years of experience at MTN, Lynda Saint-Nwafor has served as the Chief Technical Officer and General at MTN Nigeria and has also been a member of the Presidential Committee under Former President Goodluck Jonathan. She is passionate about small businesses and how they contribute to the innovation of the country and she spends her time as CEBO working towards the growth of these businesses and their founders.
12. Martha Alade, Founder, Women in Technology in Nigeria (WITIN)
Martha possesses 20 years of expertise in the technology and development intersection, with a focus on areas such as Youth Economic Empowerment, Gender Equality, and Diversity, Digital Inclusion, Education, Artificial Intelligence, Internet Governance, and Agriculture. She has spearheaded numerous ICT4D initiatives that have brought about significant positive changes in the lives of women and girls. Her initiatives and collaborations centred around Digital Skills, Entrepreneurship, and Employment have significantly enhanced the livelihoods of countless women and girls across Africa..Her non-profit WITIN pushes for gender equality reforms while also providing opportunities to women for tech and entrepreneurial initiatives.
13. Mary Uduma, CEO & MD, Jaeno Digital Solution
Mary is passionate about the internet and information. Starting as a finance director in the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), she has been elected twice as the President of the Nigerian Internet Registration Association (NIRA) and is the chairperson of the Nigerian Internet Governance Forum. She is currently Managing Director of Jaeno Digital Solutions.
14. Nkemdilim Uwaje Begho (F.SCGN), MD & CEO, Future Software Resources Ltd.
Nkemdili Is the founder and MD of Future Software Resources. She is a speaker and has made her mark on the next generation by educating young girls across universities in Nigeria on opportunities in the tech industry. She is passionate about the inclusion of women in all industries. She has also worked with the Lagos state government on science and innovation and has led teams creating strategy and implementation in Digital Marketing in one of Nigeria’s leading digital & technology solutions companies. She has been honoured as an Obama Africa Leader and also Forbes’s Top Ten Female Tech Founders in Africa.
15. Nnenna Nwakanma, Chief Web Advocate, World Wide Web Foundation
Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) activist and community organiser, Nnenna Nwakanma is passionate about making data accessible to all on the internet. Her desire to advocate for women and general equity has led her to roles in the UN, the African Open Source Foundation, FOSSFA and now Chief Web Advocate at the World Wide Web Foundation. She describes herself as ‘Nnenna from the Internet’
16. Odunayo Ewewniyi, Co-Founder, PiggyVest
Featured in the latest Forbes’ 30 under 30 list, Odun is enthusiastic about technology and helping women do great things through technology. As a tech entrepreneur, she co-founded Piggyvest Nigeria where she now serves as Chief Operating Officer. She is also the co-founder of FirstCheck Africa, an early-stage venture capital investing in female-led businesses in Africa. Outside of technology, Odun is an activist, lending voice to women’s issues in Africa. She is a founding member of The Feminist Coalition (FEMCO). She also speaks at conferences across the globe, educating people on saving, entrepreneurship, and women issues.
17. Ogo Ofomata, Director of Sales and Marketing at Airtel Nigeria
Ogo is a director of sales and marketing at Airtel Nigeria. With a degree in Computer science, she has filled several senior roles in telecommunications companies . She is passionate about ICT and has held roles in Vodacom Business Africa, Gateway Communications Africa, and GS Telcom Nigeria.
18. Olatomiwa Williams, Country Manager, Nigeria & Ghana, Microsoft
Olatomiwa has decades of experience in information technology. As a tech and business guru she builds strategic partnerships between Microsoft and businesses in Nigeria and Ghana. In her off time she mentors young leaders and she leads female focused initiatives to support and encourage women and girls in her region to get involved in information technology and engineering.
19. Olayinka David-West, Associate Dean & Professor of Information Systems at Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University
Olayinka is the Associate Dean of Lagos Business School (LBS), a Professor of Information Systems and she sits on the management board of LBS. She is passionate about financial inclusion and the use of technology to advance business and society. One career milestone for professor Olayinka was becoming a professor within a decade of being awarded a doctoral degree and according to her, she believes that “tech is an enabler of social and business change and I’m motivated by the opportunities in Africa!”
20. Omobola Johnson, Nigerian Technocrat and Chairperson Global Alliance for Affordable Internet
Omobola is the first and former Minister of Communication Technology in Nigeria under President Goodluck Jonathan. A champion of women’s empowerment, she is one of the co-founders of Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), a non-profit that helps women become leaders in business and public service. She is often described as a technocrat and believes in the collaboration between government and the ICT industry. She also sits on the Board of MTN Nigeria and many other companies.
21. Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka, General Manager, Fixed Broadband, MTN Nigeria
Onyinye oversees operations for broadband services at MTN. She began her career at MTN in 2001 as a sales executive in the business development team and has since led various high-profile teams within the company. Onyinye played a key role in the establishment of the Enterprise Business division where she worked as General Manager for seven years, leading nationwide sales efforts, delivering consistent YoY growth for the business and driving expansion into new markets. She developed and managed profitable business models for high-end enterprise and digital initiatives within the MTN Enterprise Business division serving SMEs, Large and Multinational Organisations.
She currently provides leadership and sets standards for fixed broadband operations, as well as establishes resources to meet customer requirements, in line with the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025.
She is a business leader with over 23 years experience in the telecommunications, logistics and education sectors. Onyinye holds a Master of Business Administration in General Management from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom and a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from the University of Calabar, Cross River state. She is also a member of the Forbes Business Development Council.
22. Teju Ajani, Managing Director, Apple, Nigeria
Teju has built her career as a woman in tech contributing to global fortune 500 companies including Google, Oracle and now Apple. She is considered a tech, technical sales, and content expert. She combines her extensive experience in software engineering, product and business management to now lead strategic partnerships at Apple. While working at Google she led the Women at Google group in Sub Saharan Africa. She is passionate about equality and how tech can provide opportunities for economic growth for everyone.
23. Ude Enebeli, General Manager, IT Infrastructure and Cloud Engineering, MTN
Ude is passionate about IT governance and leadership and is an accomplished Information Technology executive with almost two decades of experience in Business and IT Service management, Solutions Delivery, and other IT related roles.
24. Ugonwa Nwoye, Chief Customer Service Officer, MTN Nigeria
Ugonwa has had a successful 20 year career in telecommunications with stellar achievements in customer experience. At MTN, she leads the largest customer care operations in telecommunications in Africa. She is credited with conceptualising and executing MTN’s loyalty program. A program that cemented the telecommunications giants’ hold in corporate Nigeria. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School, Boston, USA.
25. Uzoma Ekwebelem, Cloud Country Leader, Oracle Technology
Uzoma has had a career in technology spanning decades, during which she has worked with leading names like MTN and IBM. She has become a household name in the ICT industry as an IT leader with skills in business strategy, business development and relationship development. Uzoma is a mastermind at closing deals and has closed multinational deals at individual and government levels and now spends her time managing relationships at Oracle.
26. Dr Veronica Onaja Babayemi, Managing Director, Telko MS
Veronica is the Managing Director at Telko Managed Service where she is focused on driving strategic growth at businesses in Africa. A graduate of the University of Warwick, Veronica has had a 20 year career in telecommunications holding various positions at Airtel Nigeria and now as Managing Director at Telko Managed service.
27. Yetunde Ojo, General Manager, IT Operations, MTN Nigeria
Yetunde manages IT operations at MTN Nigeria. She was the Head of Technology at The Nigerian Stock Exchange from 2014 till 2016. She is an advisor, thought leader, and businesswoman. She has built her career in operations across various industries including, insurance, telecommunication, banking and capital markets.