CNN’s Marketplace Africa features interviews with two women who are making waves in the African market. First, Phiona Okumu, the Spotify Head of Music for sub-Saharan Africa, discusses how the streaming service is resonating with the continent’s young population by customizing the product to suit the region. Okumu also acknowledges the complexity of African music and the importance of using indicators like the popularity and growth of different genres to enable discovery.
To cater to its new market, Spotify has partnered with mobile payment service M-PESA, which is local to Kenya, to best serve those who are unbanked and don’t use credit cards. Spotify’s customised playlist, African Heat, has enabled music discovery for all music lovers across the world and has led to African artists like Wizkid becoming successful globally.
In the second interview, Ife Durosinmi-Etti, the founder and CEO of Herconomy, shares her experience of raising money for her business and the difficulties that women face in African tech start-ups. The World Bank reports that all-female start-ups only received 3% of the almost 2 billion dollars of investment going to African tech start-ups from 2013 to 2021. However, Fara Ashiru Jituboh, the founder and CEO of Okra, raised 3.5 million dollars of venture capital funding in 2021. Maya Horgan Famodu, the founder of Ingressive Capital, believes that with advancing technical contributions, talent, and infrastructure, Africa’s emerging market technology ecosystem is evolving into its version 4.0.
Despite the challenges women face, Horgan Famodu believes that there is no shortage of women technical talent across Africa, and many women-owned funds are emerging. She notes that almost every prominent VC in Nigeria has a female partner, and diverse teams tend to have a higher return on investment and higher IRR.
Durosinmi-Etti concludes that although funding is difficult for women to obtain, things are changing. Horgan Famodu believes that everyone is capable of building a better Africa, and we all have a part to play in shaping its future.