Interview with Haweya Mohamed, CEO of Afrobytes, the first digital hub dedicated to African tech in Europe, on the occasion of the next conference to be held in Paris on June 8 and 9.
Haweya Mohamed, 39, single-handedly eliminates all the received ideas: “It seems that I have all the faults: I am a woman, soon to be a mother, I am black, Muslim, and I am in the business. But I’ve never seen it as a handicap … I move on! “. And that is saying: the mother-to-be is going for it. And combines the caps with ease and relaxation.
Before creating Afrobytes, the first digital hub dedicated to African tech in November 2015 with her sidekick, Ammin Youssouf, this hard worker at heart went through a fine panel of companies recognized for their sense of innovation.
Communication for change
Because if there is one word that sums up Haweya Mohamed’s career, it is modernity. Rooted in her time, well in her trainers, she knows where she is going and adapt to changes, and above all anticipate them. The young woman experienced the beginnings of reality television when she started working at Endemol in 2000-2001 in the communications department, then by joining Isabelle Camus’ team, producer of the first successful short format, Un Gars, Une Fille. Determined, she will not hesitate to travel to the other side of the Channel to make a little journey to Chanel 4 International either.
Back in Paris, she joined RTL communications and gradually rose through the ranks to the management of the service. Then, after 10 years of public relations, the entrepreneur at heart feels the need to create her own organization. “I’ve always wanted to develop a structure around a story close to me,” says the native Somali. I was also aware that the continent was not told the way it should be. ”
And Africa, Haweya Mohamed knows her. The latter has crisscrossed the continent, from Morocco to South Africa, via Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda and of course Somalia, as part of personal trips but also Stand Up For African’s. Monthers (AMREF), a Nairobi-based public health NGO aimed at slowing maternal mortality, for which she has served as an administrator since 2010. Trips that have made her aware of a number of needs among young people African assets, such as visibility, funding, the establishment of solid partnerships to grow.
Aware of the potential of “mobile first continent”, she therefore created Afrobytes with Ammin Youssouf in November 2015, to make the “bridge between African tech and European tech”. And that Paris become the key passage for bringing people together via the Afrobyte conference which gives the opportunity to tech players “to meet, to shake hands in an innovative way with a view to sustainable development”.
Building the Africa of the future
Defining the relationship between Africa and Europe is Haweya’s mission. “I needed to tell Africa differently, and especially that it be told by Africans”, explains the one who remains convinced that the African diaspora can play a key role in the technological acceleration of the continent.
Because Haweya manages to project herself into the future in order to better build the future, she sees strong potential in the demographic growth of the continent, which will nevertheless “imply many changes and needs that governments and private companies cannot respond to. the reverse of digital which will offer alternative solutions ”.
Thinking about business in a healthy and inclusive way, with “a lot of benevolence”, these are the driving forces of Haweya Mohamed through the Afrobytes project, which makes it a point of honor to represent 50% of women at the conference. “My goal is to broadcast role models”, details the one who counts among her own models, Cameroonian Rebecca Enonchong, at the origin of Cameroon Angels Network.
“Do things yourself before someone else does them for you” is the motto of this endian, “who plans to ramp up with Afrobytes!
The next conference will take place on June 8 and 9 in Paris, and will focus on the issue of the African consumer: a decisive player for Western companies.
More info on the Afrobytes website.