Nnamdi Oranye

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Nnamdi Oranye
Nnamdi Oranye Interview.jpg
Nnamdi Oranye on a panel session at the Digital Finance Colloquium, 2018.
Born1980 (age 40–41)
London, United Kingdom
NationalityNigerian, British
Alma materUniversity of Botswana
University of Melbourne
OccupationAfrican Innovation Researcher
Years active2011–present
Known forbeing the founder of Disrupting Africa Encyclopedia
Notable work

Editor: Ryan Peter.

Nnamdi Oranye (born c. 1980) is an African innovation thought leader, media personality, writer and speaker, often presenting and chairing at conferences in Africa, particularly in the thought-leadership and technology space. He writes regular columns for a wide array of online and paper media, and is the author of the books “Disrupting Africa": The Rise and Rise of African Innovation (2016, Revised 2018) and "Taking on Silicon Valley": How Africa's Innovators Will Shape its Future (2017). His strong opinions and research on innovation in Africa and the future of the African people has made him a well-known afro-optimist.[1]

Nnamdi's books and articles deal with view points culminated from combining research between anthropology, statistics and technology trends, often looking for overlaps between the three that correlate to predictive trends in the African innovation space.

Nnamdi is a faculty member of Singularity University,[2] a global learning and innovation community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges and build a better future for all.[3]

Early life and education

Oranye was born in London, United Kingdom in November, 1980. He spent most of his childhood in Nigeria, where he went to High School. His mother is a teacher with a passion for reading and writing. His father is a quantity surveyor. After his family moved to Botswana, Oranye completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Botswana in Electrical & Electronics Engineering, and then went to study at the University of Melbourne (Australia) where he completed a Masters in Telecommunications. He had been offered a scholarship at a North American university which he turned down for personal reasons.


At 26, after graduating in Australia in 2005, Oranye was asked by a friend to help expand his pre-paid mobile airtime scratch card business, MTIL, into Africa. Oranye took up the offer and traveled throughout the African continent extensively, basing the business in South Africa.[4] In his book, “Disrupting Africa", Oranye claims that his exposure to the emerging mobile market and the many African cultures at the time began to stir his passion for Africa and what innovation on the continent could do. Coupled with living on three continents through his formative years (U.K., Africa, Australia) and now based in South Africa, he began to see how Africa could form a “different, unique narrative” for its time, and how innovation could form a part of this.


Oranye’s book, “Disrupting Africa" has been called the first book that chronicles the lives of innovators and entrepreneurs changing the African landscape.[5] The book consists of 14 chapters, tracking how the African continent is changing, summing up the present digital payments space, and then tracking innovations throughout major industries, including health, education, entertainment, insurance, and others. In it he provides interviews from well-known and emerging innovators in these spaces, as well as QR codes that lead the reader to videos, diagrams, radio interviews, and other interactive information.

His follow-up book, "Taking on Silicon Valley" chronicles the beginning days of Silicon Valley and notes how both Silicon Valley and China's innovators are disrupting the African landscape. Both the positives and negatives of this situation are highlighted, with Oranye asking how Africa can both work with and compete against Silicon Valley and China. Through noting trends and highlighting the latest research, Oranye's views of African innovation remain positive.


Nnamdi Oranye delivering his Singularity Talk on African Innovation and Disrupting Africa.

Oranye has been named amongst the 100 most influential names in Africa’s telecoms, media and ICT industry by the AfricaCom100 Research Board[6].

Oranye’s book, “Disrupting Africa: The Rise and Rise of African Innovation” received endorsements from well known African entrepreneurs, including Ashish J. Thakkar, who popularised the term "Africa Rising".

In June 2018, Oranye was recognised as one of the "Most Influential People of African Descent" for “media & culture”, an initiative in conjunction with the United Nations.[7] In support of the International Decade for People of African Descent, proclaimed by United Nations’ General Assembly resolution 68/237 and to be observed from 2015 to 2024, MIPAD identifies high achievers of African descent in public and private sectors from all around the world as a progressive network of relevant actors to join together in the spirit of recognition, justice and development of Africa, its people on the continent, and across its diaspora.[7]

Oranye gave a TEDx Talk in Mauritius, titled "The Rise of African Innovation", exploring how African Innovation truly has the potential to change the African narrative, as well as global and pan-African trends shaping the landscape in Africa.[8]

Disrupting Africa Encyclopedia

The Disrupting Africa Encyclopedia is an online encyclopedia dedicated to African innovation, African innovators, and African entrepreneurs.[9] It was conceived by Oranye as an online resource to his first book, Disrupting Africa: The Rise and Rise of African Innovation, to provide objective and verifiable information on African Innovators and Entrepreneurs.

It is modelled after both Wikipedia and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP), combining the technology elements of Wikipedia (MediaWiki front end) and the editorial approach of SEP to having single editors own and manage entries in the Encyclopedia.

The Disrupting Africa Encyclopedia is a subsidiary of the Disrupting Africa organisation, which promotes African innovation and uses a combination of mathematics, anthrophology, and technology trends to project the future needs of Africans and how Africa's innovative technologies can meet these needs.

Its stated vision is to write the stories of the 30 million Africans it believes will change the continent, and its stated mission is to empower Africans with objective information about African innovation, and to distribute this information effectively and globally.[10] In order to achieve this, the Disrupting Africa Encyclopedia trains and employs young editors across Africa and the Diaspora to research and write it's encyclopedia entries.



Essays and reporting

  1. Oranye, Nnamdi & Peter, Ryan (April 24, 2019). "A.I. AgriBusiness is Good Business". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 6 June 2019
  2. Oranye, Nnamdi (February 12, 2019). "Why The World Owes Education to an African Woman". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  3. Oranye, Nnamdi (November 16, 2018). "The Future of Digital Finance in Africa". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  4. Oranye, Nnamdi (September 18, 2018). "Who is Monitoring the Economic Impact of Silicon Valley in Africa?". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  5. Oranye, Nnamdi (July 20, 2018). "Going Through Agenda 2063’s Guiding Vision". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  6. Oranye, Nnamdi (June 8, 2018). "The Changing Faces of Huawei". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  7. Oranye, Nnamdi (April 29, 2018). "Why African innovation is better than Silicon Valley". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  8. Oranye, Nnamdi (February 28, 2018). "Infiltrating Wikipedia, Black Panther Style". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  9. Oranye, Nnamdi (February 19, 2018). "Africa - Know Your Change". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  10. Oranye, Nnamdi (January 26, 2018). "Rebooting the African Diaspora’s Role in Africa". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  11. Oranye, Nnamdi (November 14, 2017). "Protecting African Intellectual Property". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  12. Oranye, Nnamdi (October 18, 2017). "Tangible results when investors and innovators collaborate". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  13. Oranye, Nnamdi (September 12, 2017). "The Tipping Point for African Innovation". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  14. Oranye, Nnamdi (August 15, 2017). "Could True Caller eventually own your customer?". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  15. Oranye, Nnamdi (July 17, 2017). "If Silicon Valley were a country". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  16. Oranye, Nnamdi (May 29, 2017). "Amazon poised to disrupt pharmaceuticals". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  17. Oranye, Nnamdi (May 12, 2017). "A case for open source African innovation". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  18. Oranye, Nnamdi (May 12, 2017). "Could entrepreneurs bring new meaning to the African girl-child?".Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  19. Oranye, Nnamdi (April 26, 2017). "Including the diaspora in African innovation". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  20. Oranye, Nnamdi (March 24, 2017). "Innovators need to think Pan-African from day one". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  21. Oranye, Nnamdi (March 31, 2017). "What is true tech disruption?". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  22. Oranye, Nnamdi (February 27, 2017). "What sort of remittance disruption can Amazon cause in Africa?". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  23. Oranye, Nnamdi (February 2, 2017). "Should Africa's telecoms industry be wary of Facebook?". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  24. Oranye, Nnamdi (November 25, 2016). "Africa is rising depending where you look". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  25. Oranye, Nnamdi (October 25, 2016). "Marrying Innovations". "African Independent Retrieved 10 June 2019
  26. Oranye, Nnamdi (September 27, 2016). "The Internet of Things and Shaping South Africa". "Carte Blanche". Retrieved 7 June 2019
  27. Oranye, Nnamdi (September 20, 2016). "Top 10 home-grown tech solutions which are changing Africa". "True Africa". Retrieved 10June 2019
  28. Oranye, Nnamdi (September 16, 2016). "ITNews Africa". "ITNews Africa". Retrieved 10 June 2019
  29. Oranye, Nnamdi (October, 2016). "Why Africa is Innovating More than You Think". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 10 June 2019

TV, radio and podcasts

  1. Oranye, Nnamdi (May 28, 2019). "he future of Africa is bright indeed". "Business Day TV: The Big Small Business Show". Retrieved 10 June 2019
  2. Oranye, Nnamdi (May 6, 2019). "When a challenge leads to innovation". "Business Day TV: The Big Small Business Show". Retrieved 10 June 2019
  3. Oranye, Nnamdi (April 5, 2019). "How SMEs are offering more job opportunities". "Business Day TV: The Big Small Business Show". Retrieved 10 June 2019
  4. Oranye, Nnamdi (March 22, 2019). "Africa Rising: Myth or Reality". "Business Day TV: The Big Small Business Show". Retrieved 7 June 2019
  5. Oranye, Nnamdi (September 5, 2018). "Promoting Africa's Innovators". "YAE with Victoria Crandall". Retrieved 7 June 2019
  6. Oranye, Nnamdi (July 22, 2016). "Innovating for Africa". "BBC: Africa Business Report". Retrieved 7 June 2019
  7. Oranye, Nnamdi (2014 - 2016). "PowerFM: Innovation Segment - Nnamdi Oranye & Victor Kgomoeswana". "PowerFM South Africa. Retrieved 10 June 2019

University Libraries

Oranye's books are featured in global universities as reference material for its students. Notable universities libraries where Oranye's books are featured include:[11]

  • The United States Library of Congress
  • Stanford University
  • Princeton University
  • Yale University
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of the Witwatersrand


Oranye was a featured storyteller on African Innovation on the Mobile Africa documentary.[12]


  1. Mbele, Lerato "Innovating in Africa" BBC Africa Report. (Jul 22, 2016)
  2. Singularity University (South Africa) - Faculty Members Retrieved from website (July 23, 2021)
  3. Singularity University - About Us Page Retrieved from website (July 23, 2021)
  4. Oranye, Nnamdi “Disrupting Africa: The Rise and Rise of African Innovation”, ISBN 978-0-620-70315-4, Chapter 1, page 15.
  5. Lessons we learnt from our CEO’s interview with the author of Disrupting Africa on PowerFM 98.7 VoguePay. (Retrieved Jul 22, 2018)
  6. AfricaCom 100 Research Board Oranye recognised by AfricaCom Research Board. (Retrieved Feb 12, 2018)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Most Influential Persons of African Descent (MIPAD) Class of 2018 Honorees: Media & Culture MIPAD - Meet Nnamdi Oranye. (Retrieved from website Jul 23, 2021)
  8. "The Rise of African Innovation" TEDx ALC - Mauritius (Jun 25, 2019)
  9. DisruptingAfrica.com, home page
  10. "About Us"
  11. "Library Catalogues". Retrieved 6 June, 2019
  12. "Mobile Africa Documentary Trailer". Retrieved 6 June, 2019