The New Times (Kigali)

4 January 2014

Rwanda's Iribagiza in World Top 100 Thinkers

Clarisse Iribagiza, a young Rwandan tech entrepreneur, has been listed among the top 100 global thinkers by an Italian think tank, LSDP.

The founder and chief executive of Hehe Ltd, a start-up tech firm that majors in software development among other services, was recognised because "she is one of the faces of a communicative and technological revolution in Africa," the think tank compilers wrote.

She was placed 32nd coming behind Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in a list that included political leaders, businessmen, scientists, academics, journalists and intellectual leaders selected from across the globe.

This is one of several recognitions she has received in recent past for her involvement in ICT on various levels. Last year, at the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, her company Hehe Ltd, was awarded for developing socially transforming IT solutions.

Pope Francis topped the list "because he reminded the world that the Catholic Church is a global power," the think tank said, followed by central bankers of the US, Russia and Israel, who "showed that the central bankers' club is not "men-only" anymore."

The recently released list included thinkers from the East Africa region, most of them women for their contribution in the continent's transformation.

Notable recognitions:

Mabel Imbuga, the vice chancellor of Jomo Kenyatta University, was listed for her role in being an example to women.

Elsie Kanza, a Kenyan woman who heads the world economic forum, was recognised for her role in emphasising the role of innovative entrepreneurship in economic transformation.

Juliana Rotich, a Kenyan entrepreneur, Calestous Juma, a professor at Havard Kennedy University, and Musimbi Kanyoro, a Kenyan human rights activist, were the other East Africans listed for their various roles in positively influencing society.

Other African personalities that featured on the list were Babatunde Fashola, the governor of the state of Lagos; Adefunke Ekine, a Nigerian educationist, and Sarah Menker, founder and chief executive of a data firm in Ethiopia.

The list took into consideration that often women thinkers do not receive enough recognition and was built to factor in both sexes.

The compilers of the list say they gave a "special place to Africa and especially to the new realities of technology and innovation.

The think tank, with bases in Italy and Brussels, identifies global personalities, organisations and firms who headed or advocated for trends in politics and the global economy.

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