German Africa Prize 2019

An excellent feeling for society

Chancellor Angela Merkel has presented the Kenyan Juliana Rotich with this year’s German Africa Prize. She praised her courage, her determination and her success in business. Her success is an inspiration and motivation for many other women in Africa, said the Chancellor.

Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulates Juliana Rotich, winner of this year's German Africa Prize.

Juliana Rotich, winner of this year's German Africa Prize, is an IT expert, an entrepreneur and an inspiration to Africa's women

Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

Juliana Rotich, IT expert and manager, has "demonstrated an excellent feeling for society and business expertise, particularly with a view to digital progress in Africa," said Chancellor Angela Merkel in a congratulatory speech in Berlin.

Since 1993 the German Africa Foundation has awarded the German Africa Prize in recognition of exceptional African personalities who have made a special and sustainable contribution to democracy, peace, human rights, art and culture, the social market economy and the concerns of society.

Courage to risk something new

Angela Merkel declared that innovation always starts with the courage to question things rather than merely accepting the status quo. "Many people in Africa have this courage to embrace risks and risk doing something new."

That is why the German government has launched initiatives including the Africa” and "Make-IT in Africa". The aim is to support digital companies in African states to establish and development business relations.

Women have priority

"Women in particular have good ideas which with they can drive development and transformation. There are thus also many businesses in Africa that have been founded by women and which we are supporting from Germany," said the Chancellor.

During the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg a number of initiatives were founded, including the "Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative" and the  "#eSkills4Girls". "At this year’s G7 summitin Biarritzin France, we specifically declared the promotion of women in business to be a priority," said Angela Merkel.

The German government underlined this with its pledge to provide 30 million euros for the relevant promotion programme of the African Development Bank.

Open source platform Ushahidi

Prize-winner Juliana Rotich is co-founder of the open source platform "Ushahidi" (which means testimony), which can be used to map events geographically and in terms of time on a Google map.

Today Ushahidi is used in over 160 countries to improve crisis response, benefitting millions of people.

Juliana Rotich is also co-founder of the innovative technology company BRCK, which has been sub-Saharan Africa’s largest Wi-Fi provider since February 2019.