The latest group of World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers merges entrepreneurial zeal with science and engineering to tackle global problems head on, from artificial intelligence to healthcare to fintech.
According to Susan Nesbitt, Head of the Forum’s Global Innovators Community, which will facilitate workshops and high-level discussions for the pioneers over the next two years, the 2021 cohort of young and growing tech companies includes “many future headline-makers at the forefront of their industries.” She argues that the social innovators are chosen because they are cutting-edge players with “huge potential to not just shake up their industry but also give actual solutions to global challenges.”
FlexFinTx, for example, is developing self-sovereign digital IDs to assist Africa’s 400 million people who lack proper identity. Meanwhile, Cambridge Industries is working to combat climate change by establishing long-term city infrastructure to support waste-to-energy technologies.
Gender diversity among start-ups has always been a concern, which is why it’s encouraging to see this year’s cohort have the largest gender diversity yet, with over 30% of companies managed by women. For the first time, the United Arab Emirates, El Salvador, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe are represented.
Here the six African startups named as Technology Pioneers of 2021 by the World Economic Forum.
- Cambridge Industries, Ethiopia: Innovating next-generation urban infrastructure through sustainable city parks;
- FlexFinTx, Zimbabwe: Building the next generation of identity management;
- Kuda Technologies, Nigeria: Providing Africans with access to credit and free banking services;
- Moringa School, Kenya: A workforce development platform serving African students;
- mPharma, Ghana: Building good health in Africa through technology-driven healthcare;
- Sokowatch, Kenya: Offering same-day delivery and working capital to African retailers.
Following their selection as Technology Pioneers, this year’s companies will join an incredible alumni list that includes Airbnb, Google, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Palantir Technologies, Spotify, TransferWise, Twitter, and Wikimedia, among others.