In an industry which often depends on the motivation and energy of decisions-makers, one person has the ability to make a significant impact. HumanIPO picks out some of the most important players of 2012.
Tefo Mohapi: Jason Njoku, from startup to international and multimillion dollar company in one year (iROKOtv and iROKING). The sites are currently monetised through paid user subscriptions and expanding, with a South African office planned for 2013.
Robin Okuthe: Bitange Ndemo, Kenya’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications, has dominated news on Africa’s competitive telecommunications sector. An active participant in initiatives targeted at lowering the cost of accessing ICTs in East Africa, his priority has been to connect East Africa to the world through underseas fibre-optic cables. Just this month, he called on the communications industry to stand against a set of new regulations proposed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Elly Okutoyi: Chief Executive Officer of Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) Austin Kwesi Okere. He was recognised by the organisers of the Titans of Tech Award as the “Technology Africa Personality of the Year 2012″. Under his leadership, CWG has grown from a small company selling DELL computers into Africa’s leading indigenous ICT company in Hardware, Software, Internet, IT Education, IT Security and Telecommunications.
Tom Jackson: John Holdsworth, the founder of AppChat, who is fighting hard to bring down mobile costs in South Africa. He has vowed to fight on against a court ruling against him, as he battles against the Ruenert Group in order to be able to commercially launch AppChat. He has also taken the fight to ICASA, calling for them to regulate in order to break the dominance of Vodacom and MTN in the South African market.
Vincent Matinde: Randolf Owusu. This 24-year-old went against the odds to create and launch Anansi Browser and Anansi Operating system, propelling him to major interest internationally. He has received thousands of downloads for his software solutions. He is set to go far.
Gythan Munga: Mark Kaigwa, a social and digital media guru, is probably Africa’s most foremost person in tech, representing the continent on global platforms and fronting for Africa as the next Silicon Valley. Notably, Kaigwa wrote and directed his first film, titled Dawa, this year. Mark also presented a talk – titled “Kenya’s Reputation As Africa’s Silicon Savannah: Conceited or confirmed?” – at the recent Mobile Web Africa 2012 conference in South Africa.
Gabriella Mulligan: Alan Knott-Craig Senior has captivated the South African telecommunications sector this year through his outspoken, controversial attacks on larger telecoms companies in a bid to push down prices and open up the market to smaller operators. Most recently calling for the unification of operators under an umbrella structure, Knott-Craig has shaken up the telecoms sector.
Richard Cutcher: Jess Green, founder of Perk.co.za and a recently elected member of Silicon Cape executive committee, has embarked on an ambitious project to encourage the South African government to fund a startup accelerator programme for talented entrepreneurs from across the globe. He has already met with Western Cape officials in what could be the first steps towards South Africa finally catching up with Kenya and Nigeria on the startup scene.
Nanine Steenkamp: South African Marlon Parker, CPUT lecturer and founder of Reconstructed Labs (RLabs) and JamiiX, transforms lives with his innovative IT ideas and projects such as Drug Advice Support Network on the technological spectrum for social change. His programmes reach up to 100,000 people. RLabs supplies education to poverty stricken communities, such as the Cape Flats where he came from, while he employs social media to share stories of hope.
Paul Adepoju: Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s Minister for Communications Technology, for championing several landmark innovative projects that not only put the present status of Nigeria’s ICT into perspective, but also build strong foundations for the future.
Brandon Gregory: James Kennedy is an Irish tech entrepreneur who has twice won funding through the Start-Up Chile programme – an initiative to fund international tech businesses at the seed stage in Chile. Kennedy has been actively involved with presenting Start-Up Chile to budding tech entrepreneurs in Cape Town, South Africa.
Kamau Mbote: Peter Munyiri, Chief Executive of Family Bank. The bank is the only institution that has paperless banking through proper utilisation of ICT. The bank has also introduced chipped ATM cards, that have reduced fraud to nil.