‘Gender diversity essential to driving digital innovation in Africa’

The Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Ghana, Patricia Obo-Nai, has said gender diversity is essential to drive digital innovations in Africa.

She said gender diversity in the technology space would lead to increased ground-breaking innovation, and the industry must be deliberate in creating a work culture that attracts and empowers gender diversity.

Mrs Obo-Nai made the remarks during a virtual fireside chat with Ericsson’s Middle East and Africa teams on diversity and inclusion, women’s empowerment, and her career journey as a female engineer. 

“The technology industry is shaping technology for the future, so how can you allow just one demographic to define that technology? We cannot exclude one gender, race or different ethnic cultures when they are the people who will use it,” she said.

The Vodafone CEO said gender diversity was fundamental to how you thrive in innovation and how you succeed.

Mrs Obo-Nai observed that industry must be very deliberate about how “we include this culture at all these levels so that we can get it right. Otherwise, we provide solutions for people and we think that is what they need, while we do not even understand them”.

“The gender diversity agenda should be driven from the top, otherwise we are not going to win. The industry must own it from the senior level. Furthermore, I think the actions that we take as a tech company will show that we are very serious about it. Diversity within the tech space is no longer a choice; it has become a necessity that we must drive,” she said.

Highlighting on Vodafone’s contribution to gender diversity and women’s empowerment, Mrs Obo-Nai said the organisation engaged in rigorous projects aimed at giving young females hands-on skills in the field of technology.

“At Vodafone, we spend a lot of time and money doing advocacy, and we are very deliberate about this. I have been investing my time and expertise into programmes that will increase gender participation in STEM across Africa. This is why, I am very careful with the kinds of boards I choose to sit on. These include the West Africa STEM and the Global Young Academy so that we can always present the gender and African story right. Seeing a lot more female Africans in the tech space will certainly inspire more girls,” she said.

BY TIMES REPORTER

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