Fatoumata Hacked Her Dad's Laptop at Age 9

Fatoumata Hacked Her Dad's Laptop at Age 9

Fatoumata Ba is an extraordinary woman by anyone’s estimation. Born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1986 she had an early passion for technology: at age 9 she hacked her Dad’s laptop, at age 16 she developed her first website. She speaks six diverse languages – French, English, Chinese, German and Arabic. And she was instrumental in helping to build Africa’s largest eCommerce business.

After university Fatoumata worked in various management and consulting roles in the telecommunications industry in France.

Her real break came when she joined Jumia, a billion-dollar African eCommerce business (often referred to as the Amazon of Africa) that was founded in Nigeria and is now listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Fatoumata joined the business in 2013 when she founded Jumia’s Ivory Coast business. She was only 27 years old. Launching an internet business at the time was particularly tough. Connectivity was poor, logistics infrastructure almost non-existent, and trust in internet retailers very low. But Fatoumata is not someone to run away from a challenge. With some pragmatic and innovative thinking, she grew the Ivory Coast business from 10 employees in 2013 to 300 just two years later, at the same time building the site into the fastest growing African eCommerce business in Africa.

Her success in the Ivory Coast earned her the position of Managing Director of Jumia Nigeria, Chief Marketing Officer, and a position on Jumia’s African Executive Committee. She has also received various distinctions, including the World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Forbes Africa 30 Under 30, and the Aenne Burda Award for visionary leadership, optimism, and courage.

Fatoumata is passionate about the potential of individuals to do incredible things. In her acceptance speech for the Aenne Burda Award, she said

“I believe I was lucky enough to have access to some opportunities, first of all, education, and then technology that enabled me to build a career and a path for myself. That is why I cannot see my life in a different way than building opportunities for myself, but mostly for others, because they are even more talented than I am. Trust me, and if they were given a chance to be born in the right place, to have access to the opportunities, they would be here getting all these Aenna Burda awards before me.”

She is now running her own venture capital operation, Janngo Capital, which invests in African tech businesses that are having a positive impact on the continent. One of her ambitions is for at least half of Janngo’s funding to go to women founded/co-founded businesses.