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The importance of informal finance arrangements is a reverberating theme across Africa. Informal doesn’t necessarily mean bad or evil or dirty, it’s just that rather than rely on the heavy hand of the law, some communities prefer to place their trust in reputation and social networks for all trade commerce and financial relationships whether offline or online.  Others, will turn to informal institutions of trade and finance when faced by adversity in an immediate harsh environment such as war, political instability, structural programs or lack of reliable services. For example,

This story was originally published on Wogrammer here. Four years ago, Ana decided to leave her role as a business development consultant and become a software engineer. She caught wind of Women in Technology Peru, an organization that teaches women how to code. Although Ana was always interested in math and science, she grew up in an area of Peru that didn’t provide many opportunities to build upon those foundational STEM skills. However, once she immersed herself in an inspiring local community of female coders, it sparked her decision to attend

As news of Uber’s possible decline and fall filters in, it behooves me to take a moment to ponder the implications for sub-Saharan Africa’s digital economic ecosystem, particularly, the decentralized hybrid one emerging among the erstwhile informal sectors of the economy, such as motorcycle taxis like Safeboda and other on-demand services. While Uber itself has made waves in all the major urban metros across the African continent – Lagos, Nairobi, Johannesburg, etc – its inevitable end will leave a greater legacy than simply copycat taxi-hailing services. Uber the app, has changed the

A recent National Center for Women & Information Technology “By the Numbers” report puts Black women in computing in 2018 at 3% — and this statistic does not make a distinction between technical and nontechnical women in computing. Of the overall U.S. population, roughly 4.5% identify as LGBT. Since it’s incredibly hard to find industry-wide statistics on LGBT folks in tech, let’s take an extremely optimistic view and assume 4.5% of people in computing are LGBT. Combining these two percentages tells us that .00135% of the computing workforce identifies as Black, queer, and

I came to Affirm from a fairly unusual background. I’d never worked in tech or recruiting and prior to Affirm, I helped run a private optometry practice in Downtown San Francisco. Now I’m a Technical Sourcer on Affirm’s Talent team and co-lead our LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group (ERG). My career trajectory is untraditional but that’s always been me – I’ve always been a bit different.  A little about my past  I was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica until I was 10. Since then I’ve spent a majority of my

Last week, Black Enterprise magazine published an interview with COO of Facebook and CEO of Lean In Sheryl Sandberg. It was rooted in the fact that Sandberg’s Lean In advice has fallen flat for most women, and more specifically for Black women. The strategy has been criticized by many thought leaders, including Michelle Obama who notably said, “that shit doesn’t work all the time.” And this quote from Mindy Harts, founder of The Memo sums up the basis of the criticism through a racialized lens: “Lean In was well-intentioned and

Whether you call it a discussion or a debate, there’s a long-standing conversation in business around culture. This debate is about when the right time is to invest in people and culture. Some camps feel the urgency to achieve product-market fit and prove themselves as a business before they start thinking about building an intentional culture (meaning, more than perks and ping-pong tables). Others believe that purpose drives performance and that teams that feel connected to the company’s culture — its mission, purpose, and impact — are more invested in seeing the

After about 9 months teaching myself how to code, I have accepted an offer with the Guardian Newspaper to join their Digital Fellowship programme as an Associate Software Engineer. In this article, I want to support readers who are already teaching themselves how to code or are considering it. For others, I hope this article sheds some light on how we can support those trying to become engineers without bootcamps or formal education. What does self-taught mean? To me being a self taught engineer means that you haven’t completed any formal

What personal passions bring you to Abstract? I’m very passionate about having diversity in my life. I love having friends and coworkers from different backgrounds and walks of life. I love working at Abstract because we all share these views and inclusion is a huge focus. What’s one childhood lesson that you still carry with you to this day? “What’s for you, is for you” is an idea that I truly believe in. Growing up, there were times that I looked at other people’s accomplishments and compared them to my own. More

I got my first job when I was 16. A few weeks after I got my driver’s license, I drove my red, 2002 Ford Focus over to a local Frisch’s Big Boy. I’d never eaten there, but it always seemed to be empty which I thought was just the right level of intimidating for my first job. My would-be manager, a white man of around 60, conducted an informal interview with me at one of the empty tables — we had every seat in the place to choose from. With

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