Hi, I'm Akinyi
Me in short:
A former development professional turned fintech marketer and startup ecosystem champion. Passionate about creating a more inclusive society by championing financial inclusion, supporting diaspora communities and building bridges across emerging markets.
I've worked with rural farmers across West Africa, counseled start-ups on brand strategy, and advised multinationals on communications and social impact. What unites these diverse experiences is my commitment to create stronger communities by connecting technology, people and stories across borders.
I use my background as a storyteller with an eye for data to better integrate emerging markets into the global economy. I write and speak regularly on business, culture and politics in Africa. In 2019, I was named one of the 100 Most Influential People of African Descent under 40.
I currently work at Nova Credit, a cross-border consumer credit agency building bridges to provide financial products for immigrants. Prior to this, I managed communications and corporate social responsibility at WorldRemit, one of London’s fast-growing fintech companies. Outside of work, I’m Esther Ocloo Fellow at Botho Emerging Markets Group, where I research economic development in the Global South, as well as an advisor to CDC-backed initiative TheBoardroom Africa, which is accelerating women’s representation on boards and investment committees across the continent. From 2015 - 2016, I was a Princeton in Africa Fellow. I hold a BA from Yale University and an MSc from the London School of Economics.
In the past, I've written for the World Economic Forum and the Center for American Progress as well as media such as NPR, Quartz, Slate, CNBC, Forbes, Project Syndicate, Real Clear Politics, Roads and Kingdoms, Harvard Africa Policy Journal, Fields Magazine, and more.
I'm also a contributor at OkayAfrica, the largest digital platform for contemporary African culture and politics, and was a founding team member and Executive Editor at Ayiba Magazine, where I highlighted the creativity of Africa and its diaspora through innovation, technology and design.
The fun stuff:
👩🏾🍳 On weekends, you'll find me in the kitchen, at the farmer's market, or exploring a new restaurant.
On this site, you’ll also find my food blog, Jikoni (Kiswahili for "kitchen"), my love letter to the foods and flavors of Africa and its diaspora.
Growing up, food in my home was a vibrant pan-African fusion with unique combinations like supakanja (okra stew) and ugali (an East African maize-based side dish similar to polenta). Over time, my pan-African outlook extended from the kitchen to the classroom to the workplace. Jikoni is part celebration of Africa's history and cuisine, part exercise in cultural anthropology as I sleuth through the origins of many of these dishes. I'm an amateur chef, so there will be a lot of trial and error, but hopefully a lot of learning and a great deal of fun.