, KIGALI, Rwanda, May 11 – Audrey Cheng of Moringa School in Kenya is among five women entrepreneurs picked in the Africa Top Women Innovators Challenge 2016 as the World Economic Forum kicked off in Kigali, Rwanda on Wednesday.
Cheng established Moringa School to enable a whole generation to gain the skills they need to compete in the digital economy.
“Two years on, graduates work in the top tech companies in the region, earning on average 350 percent more than before they completed the coursework,” details released at the start of 2016 World Economic Forum in Kigali indicated.
Others picked are from Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and Rwanda.
The innovations are in the areas of mobile health insurance, solar powered vending carts, biochemical materials, IT, training and food processing.
The criteria for the challenge required entrants’ companies to be less than three years old, be earning revenue for at least a year and have proven innovation and positive social impact.
The winners have been invited to the World Economic Forum where they will meet other social entrepreneurs and impact investors, and take part in conversations relevant to their expertise and interests.
As the forum got underway, the Head of Africa at the World Economic Forum Elsie Kanza said she strongly believed that the 21st century will be Africa’s century.
“Its young population has the potential to build a world where they are not only materially better off, but also where things are fairer, more sustainable and more tolerant than at any other time in history. But this will not be achieved unless women are able to make a full contribution.
More than 1,200 participants from over 70 countries are taking part in the World Economic Forum whose theme is “Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation”.
President Uhuru Kenyatta who left Nairobi for Kigali on Wednesday morning was due to close the plenary session of the Grow Africa Investment Forum in the afternoon.
The Grow Africa Investment Forum – established by the African Union, the World Economic Forum and NEPAD – focuses primarily on increasing private investment in Agriculture in order to ensure agriculture-led economic growth, in accordance with the Malabo Declaration which Kenya adopted alongside the rest of the continent in 2014.
A statement by his communications unit said President Kenyatta was keen to rally support for increased investment in Kenya’s agricultural sector and to explore avenues of leveraging technology and innovation to enhance the country’s agricultural sector while protecting small scale farmers.
The Forum provides a platform for dialogue between Africa’s private, public and civil society sectors with a view to exploring existing economic opportunities, understanding the challenges to Africa’s economic prospects, understanding the needs of various stakeholders and mobilising support for strategic interventions.
“President Kenyatta is optimistic about the continent and expresses confidence that through diversification, industrialisation and increased investments in key sectors such as energy, infrastructure, education and health, strong and visionary leadership and greater regional cooperation, Africa will prosper.”