Long noted for its progressive stance on equality, Rwanda is the birthplace of a contest that champions female tech wizards, as a group of female tech entrepreneurs decided it was time to ditch Miss Rwanda for a different kind of competition, one that judged women on brilliance rather than beauty - Ms Geek. The first Ms Geek Rwanda was crowned in 2014, and the competition has since expanded to include other African countries under the unifying banner of Ms Geek Africa. Open to girls and women aged 13 to 25, contestants are encouraged to use technology to solve everyday problems in their communities. Finalists receive business training and the winner is awarded financial backing to help realize her idea. The contest was set up as part of a nationwide effort to transform Rwanda from a small agricultural economy into an engine of technological innovation, with women and girls at the forefront of the revolution.
This year’s Ms Geek Africa is Salissou Hassane Latifa, 21, from Niger, whose winning design is an app that helps communication between people caring for accident victims and the emergency services, and allows medical staff to advise on basic first aid before they arrive at the scene.