Black Excellence: Eight African Startups Listed On The 2021 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers

by Duke Magazine

Eight African startups have been named on the list of World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers of 2021. The 2021 class comprises 100 early to growth-stage companies from around the world that are pioneering innovations and technologies.

According to the World Economic Forum, such new technologies and innovations range from “from cell-based seafood protein to quantum-based cybersecurity, digitization of water rights and use of satellite imaging to measure carbon captured in forests.”

Susan Nesbitt, Head of the Forum’s Global Innovators Community, said the 2021 class of young and growing tech companies include “many future headline-makers at the forefront of their industries.” 

Nesbitt further noted that the technpreneurs were selected because they are pace-setting players with “huge potential to not just shake up their industry but also give actual solutions to global challenges.”

African startups selected for the program include Cambridge Industries (Ethiopia), FlexFin Tx (Zimbabwe), Kuda (Nigeria), Moringa School (Kenya), mPharma (Ghana), Sokowatch (Kenya), 54Gene (Nigeria), and Gro Intelligence (Kenya).

Below is the profile of the startups as captured by the World Economic Forum:

Cambridge Industries

Cambridge Industries integrates biological materials from waste sources and polluting gases by creating next-generation bioreactors and insect farms. The company started its operation by developing the first waste-to-energy and the first sustainable city park in Africa to diversify innovation during the material creation and waste disposal process.


FlexfinTx is empowering the 400 million Africans who lack proper forms of identification to build self-sovereign digital identities so that they can prove who they are at any time, even without the internet. Using the FlexID digital identity wallet, it is enabling access to financial, insurance, healthcare, and government services through an interoperable and decentralized network.


Kuda is a full-service, digitally operated bank with a mission to make banking more accessible, affordable, and rewarding for every African on the planet. The bank provides full banking services through its suite of apps for Android phones, iPhones, and the web, allowing anyone with internet access to operate a spending account, access instant credit, save money automatically, and earn annual interest without the burden of traditional bank charges.

Moringa School 

Moringa School is a multi-disciplinary workforce development platform based in Nairobi, Kenya, and committed to providing young Africans with the technical and soft skills they need to excel in their careers. Through experienced teachers and mentors, a blended learning model, and a market and outcome-driven curriculum, Moringa School’s mission is to transform higher education throughout Africa and enable its graduates to be globally competitive with their peers.


mPharma is a pan-African technology-driven healthcare company in Ghana. Its mission is to build an Africa that is in good health by increasing access to drugs for all patients at reduced costs while assuring and preserving quality. Founded in 2013, it has a network of over 300 pharmacies in key markets in Africa serving more than 100,000 patients each month. Its partner pharmacies throughout Africa have dispensed millions of drugs to patients across the continent.


Sokowatch is impacting communities throughout Africa by revolutionizing access to essential goods and services. This is achieved by connecting small shops to the digital economy as it fixes inefficient supply chains and provides services that were previously unavailable, such as next-day delivery and financing. About 20,000 retailers in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda order daily to receive goods quickly and cheaply while accessing financing – many for the first time. Access to financing grows 800% on average.


54gene is a health technology company tackling the disparity in healthcare research and clinical delivery through large-scale discovery and translational research, advanced molecular diagnostics, and clinical programs for the benefit of Africans and the global population.

Gro Intelligence

This is an artificial intelligence-powered decision engine where ecology meets economy. Gro illuminates the interrelationships between everything happening on Earth, so clients can develop a holistic understanding of how their end-to-end business is impacted and act on these insights. Its system is created by human intelligence and scaled by artificial intelligence to give clients valid answers and offer a platform for confident decision-making.

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