If 2021 was a strange, excitingly bullish year, 2022 was the year of retribution that came after. Bubbles across tech and money markets popped faster than most people could prepare for. But for writers, chaos brings opportunity.
The streak of upsets that happened required us to navigate between riding the wave of events and filtering out the noise to give our readers outstanding content. And that’s what we did.
But sometimes, writers and editors are like mothers who can’t pick one child over the other. That’s why we left the voting to you, our audience to decide. So this year’s list of favourites is drawn strictly from readers, who voted with their clicks. From stories of innovation to economic upsets and unique insights about Africa, these were our top 20 most popular articles in 2022.
1. How the Zambian Kwacha became the world’s second-best-performing currency
Zambia turned out to be Africa’s economic dark horse this year. It doesn’t get mentioned as frequently as many of its peers. But while most of its neighbours struggled to shield their currencies from a global downturn, the Zambian kwacha outperformed the rest of the world. Read more.
2. The architect building Nigeria’s first luxury crochet brand
Crocheting is not a new craft in Nigeria. Chances are that you’ll see someone making really cool crochet outfits every time you scroll through social media. But it’s not every day you meet someone building a Birkin-Esque brand with crochets. Luckily, we did. Omolade Kolade Mayowa is the (literal) architect building Nigeria’s first luxury crochet brand. Read more.
3. How Joseph Nantomah made his fortune before sponsoring the isolation games
Don’t we all just love success stories? Seeing people push boundaries to reach their dreams always reminds us that our aspirations are not fairytales. That’s the feeling our audience got from reading about Joseph Nantomah, who grew out of a Nigerian slum to become one of Africa’s most notable diasporans. Read more.
4. Twelve female tech founders in North Africa you should know
We’re in a season where awareness about Africa’s tech ecosystem is at an all-time high. And with more awareness comes more curiosity. So when we found out that people from across the globe were interested in Africa’s tech space, we got curious. And here’s what we found; there isn’t much reporting about North Africa, even less about women making things happen there. In response, Ishioma Emi compiled a list of twelve female tech founders in North Africa that deserve more awareness. Read more.
5. My Pivot Journal: Jessica Ayodele’s transition from oil money to tech money
When the saying, “tech is the new oil,” became popular, some people took it quite literally. One of them is Jessica Ayodele, who dropped a budding chemical engineering career to become a data analyst. This was our most popular episode of “My Pivot Journal,” a career-focused series we launched this year. Read more.
6. Agricultural trends to watch in Africa in 2022
Agriculture is Africa’s largest economic sector, accounting for 23 per cent of its GDP and nearly half of its employment figures. So the need for agriculture to thrive in Africa is not up for debate. But for that to happen, players need to be abreast of the trends shaping the future of agriculture. So at the beginning of the year, Adekunle Agbetiloye pulled in the most notable waves of innovation in African agriculture. Read more.
7. 16-year-old tech prodigy, John Oseni, is building a sustainable future
How does a boy who grew up with no dreams suddenly become one of Nigeria’s most influential tech personalities? Earlier this year, Suotunimi Orufa profiled 16-year-old John Oseni, whose story is inspiring many other teenagers to start their tech careers early. Read more.
8. The 19-year-old blockchain guru revolutionising African crypto payments
One of the highlights of 2022 was the emergence of teens in tech. But it’s not every day you meet a 19-year-old who has already lived out most tech bros’ dreams and has moved past that to building the future of African payments. That’s what we found in Emmanuel Njoku, the founder of Lazerpay. Read more.
9. Ten female tech founders in East Africa worth celebrating
As far as tech is concerned, everyone knows Kenya as the “Silicon Savannah.” But again, Kenya is not the only country in East Africa with a booming tech industry. A growing wave of innovation is happening in the region, led by female founders who haven’t gotten their flowers. Read more.
10. 13 African tech startups to watch out for in 2022
At the start of the year, we knew that all eyes would be on Africa’s emerging tech industry. Everyone — founders, investors, workers, enthusiasts, etc. — wanted to know who to look out for this year. So we shared our 2022 tech startup watchlist. Read more.
11. Joshua Olaiya, the 19-year-old Nigerian autodidact robotics engineer
Whether or not you’re a fan of technology, it’s always interesting to meet someone who can build a robot. It’s even more impressive when you find out that they’re self-taught. But when this self-taught engineer is a Nigerian teenager with six years of experience under his belt, that sounds like fiction. But it’s not. Read more.
12. Seven African child prodigies you should know
Apparently, we wrote about several teenagers this year. But you can’t blame us. Africa is buzzing with so much young talent that we would need the whole year to cover them. But since we can’t do that, Adekunle Agbetiloye compiled a list of child prodigies from across the continent. Read more.
13. Does Africa need smart cities?
Everywhere you turn in Africa, there’s one ‘smart city project in the works. While it’s great to imagine the continent’s future with these seemingly utopic cities, we can’t help but ask whether Africa is ready to build them. Read more.
14. Can Egypt lead Africa into an industrial revolution?
Many know about the Industrial Revolution and the crucial role it played in the West’s advancement. We also know that something similar needs to happen in Africa. So, will the country that built 10,000 factories in seven years lead Africa’s revolution? Read more.
15. NFTs: African artists put Africa’s story on the metaverse
There is arguably no better way to pass a message than storytelling. So in every generation, people find new ways to tell stories of themselves and their environments to an evolving audience. Earlier this year, we caught a trend of African artists telling the continent’s story through an emerging technology — blockchain. Read more.
16. Why the ban on commercial motorcycles (Okada) in Lagos won’t last.
One of the most controversial events we saw in Nigeria this year was the sudden ban on commercial motorcycles in the country’s commercial hub. But Adekunle gave insights into why this policy might not last in the state. Read more
17. How blockchain can help transform agriculture in Africa
One of the tech waves that surged in Africa is blockchain technology. Across the globe, there have been many debates concerning its potential use cases. But in Africa, it’s hard to look away from how it might transform the agricultural sector, which employs the most people. Read more
18. A health worker’s self-taught journey to becoming a data analyst
When we started My Pivot Journal, we wanted to inspire people seeking to change their lines of work. Many people seemed to be held back by some obstacle or another, such as the absence of mentors/tutors or loneliness. For this reason, we told the story of a health worker, who picked up a career path by strictly leveraging free information on the internet. Read more.
19. How Oswald Guobadia’s “crazy ambition” made him lead the Nigeria Startup Bill
One of the biggest policy announcements of the year was the unveiling of the Nigerian Startup Act. Several people have touted it as a game-changer for Nigeria’s tech economy. But not many know the story of the man leading this revolution from behind the scenes. Read more.
20. Alhaji Siraj Bah started creating sustainable environmental solutions in Sierra Leone with a $20 investment
They say, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonades.” But what do you make when life gives you coconuts? Alhaji Siraj Bah answered that question when he started making sustainable cooking fuel from coconut briquettes. Read more.