Mrs Lola Aworanti-Ekugo

Lola is a Digital and Innovation specialist with over 15 years of experience in the industry. She started her career as a software engineer at Investec Asset Management, London where she was responsible for the development of digital solutions in the asset management portfolio. Since then, she has worked in various capacities across different roles in the financial services industry in Europe and Africa at companies including Dresdner Kleinwort, Commerzbank, BNP Paribas, Union Bank and First Bank Nigeria. She is currently the Chief Digital Officer at FBNQuest where she is responsible for defining and implementing the Digital & Innovation strategy and roadmap with a focus on identifying new digital product/service/fintech opportunities, optimising customer experience across channels and improving operational efficiency using technology.

Lola holds a BSC in Business Information systems (First Class Honours) from Middlesex University, London with scholarship for outstanding academic performance and an MBA from Imperial College Business School, London. She has founded two start-ups, including, a peer-to-peer logistics platform. She also founded, an initiative focused on empowering students interested in starting a career in technology and equipping them with the requisite knowledge and support to break into the technology field and build strong careers regardless of their first degree of study. She is also a faculty member at Elev8 global academy for digital leaders and serves on the Tech Committee of WimBiz, the Digital Transformation Committee of JA Nigeria and She Leads Africa as a mentor. She is one of the 30 women profiled by Fintech Africa as one of the exceptional women playing leading roles in their various companies and shaping the Fintech sector in Africa.
Lola recently launched her first novel “Lagos to London”. A fiction novel aimed at inspiring youths to find their own paths and strive to be their best wherever they find themselves in the world as global citizens.

Dr. Timnit Gebru

Timnit Gebru is the founder and executive director of the Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (DAIR). Prior to that she was fired by Google in December 2020 for raising issues of discrimination in the workplace, where she was serving as co-lead of the Ethical AI research team. She received her PhD from Stanford University, and did a postdoc at Microsoft Research, New York City in the FATE (Fairness Accountability Transparency and Ethics in AI) group, where she studied algorithmic bias and the ethical implications underlying projects aiming to gain insights from data. Timnit also co-founded Black in AI, a nonprofit that works to increase the presence, inclusion, visibility and health of Black people in the field of AI, and is on the board of AddisCoder, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching algorithms and computer programming to Ethiopian highschool students, free of charge

Mmaki Jantjies

Mmaki Jantjies is a South African computer scientist and currently serves as the Group Executive Innovation and transformation at one of the largest South African telecommunications providers. Jantjies is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of the Western Cape. She holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

Prof Jantjies has had a significant impact on thought leadership within the South African technology sector through her research and innovation focused on technology for development, having conducted studies on mobile systems design and adoption in education, health and small businesses. She has been recognised for her study on developing South African multilingual mobile learning applications to support STEM education in multilingual schools.

She is a member of the South African Young Association of Scientists (SAYAS) and South African Institute for Computer Scientists and Information Technologists (SAICSIT), which are organizations that support the advancement of science and technology in South Africa. Passionate about community development and increasing diversity in the technology sector, she founded a non-profit organization that rolled out programs that would support and educate youth on digital literacy, programming and social entrepreneurship.

Jantjies has served as the South African delegate W20 representative to G20 in 2017 and 2018 focusing on policy impact of technology on women. Amongst others recognitions on computer science innovation, she has been recognized as, one of 50 people who globally help make the Internet a better place by the Mozilla Foundation, recognized as, Inspiring 50 Women in technology by the Netherlands consulate and listed as one of the M&G influential young leaders under the age 40.


Empowering African Youths in a Revolutionized Digital Society: Challenges and Strategies

Youth unemployment remains one of the critical challenges in some African countries. The African continent has a majority youth population, placing youth as key stakeholders in economic growth. This presentation focuses on the role of young people in the digital economy and how their participation can be cultivated. Through a reflection on a South African case study, the talk presents various initiatives implemented to empower and increase youth participation within the digital society.