Black Excellence: Meet Fatoumata Ba, The Founder Of Africa’s First Unicorn

Fatoumata Ba is a Senegal-based tech entrepreneur. She is credited with spearheading the expansion of Jumia, Africa’s largest e-commerce platform that functions similarly to Amazon. Jumia has also been dubbed Africa’s first unicorn — a tech startup with a market capitalization of $1 billion.

Fatoumata began her career with Index Multimedia in 2007 as an Accounts Manager and Business Developer while studying abroad. She joined France Telecom in 2008 as a Sales Advisor and later as a Business Analyst. She also spent three years as a Senior Consultant of Strategy and Innovation for Atos Consulting before returning to Africa.

She returned to Africa and founded Jumia Côte d’Ivoire, where she served as CEO from 2013 to 2015. According to African Vibes, she went on to become Jumia Nigeria’s Managing Director until 2016, when she became a member of the Jumia Group Executive Committee, which spans Africa, Paris, and Dubai.

 

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There are a lot of startup hubs in Africa, but there aren’t enough jobs. It is estimated that 20 million tech jobs for men and women will be required by 2050. Many African young entrepreneurs lack the necessary seed capital to launch their businesses. And this is where Janngo enters the picture. The firm focuses on investing in women’s businesses to develop successful female entrepreneurs.

“It is not a matter of making it solely a gender case.” Of course, being fair and balanced is a good reason in and of itself. But I’d like to make it a business case because we’re likely missing hundreds of billions of dollars in GDP. After all, female business funding is scarce,” Fatoumata told DW.

According to her, Africa has a significant funding gap when compared to other geographies. “You have a lot of private equity guys.” “There are so many institutions and pension funds, but they don’t have enough venture capital, so I’m looking at direct capital, and being an accelerator or incubator is critical,” she explained.

Fatoumata was born in 1986 to a middle-class Senegalese family. When she was nine years old, she allegedly hacked her father’s computer. This incident piqued her interest in technology. According to African Vibes, she created her first email address when she was 11 years old and her first website when she was 16 years old.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in Togo before enrolling in TBS Education – ESC Toulouse, France, for her master’s degree in Management, Strategy, Marketing, and Finance. In 2019, she enrolled at Harvard Kennedy School in the United States to pursue a degree in Executive Education, Global Leadership, and Public Policy for the Twenty-First Century.

The tech entrepreneur has received numerous awards and honors, including Forbes Africa 30 under 30; World Economic Forum Young Global Leader; Choiseul 100 Africa Economic Leaders of Tomorrow; and the Aenne Burda Award for visionary leadership, optimism, and courage.

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