Africa Leaders Magazine


Kenyan-born Dr Geci Karuri-Sebina’s passion for STEM was first sparked when she was still at school and has not slowed down since. Based in Johannesburg, she is an Associate Professor at the Wits School of Governance (WSG), through which she also holds the role of National  Organiser of the Civic Tech Innovation Network (CTIN). Her work in the field of technology and innovation includes partnerships with the University of Cape Town’s African Centre for Cities and the South African Cities Network (SACN). She holds undergraduate degrees in Computer  Science and Sociology (with a minor in Art & Design), dual masters degrees in Architecture and  Urban Planning, and a PhD in Planning and Innovation Systems.

As an academic, Dr Karuri-Sebina lectures and mentors students on urban governance and innovation systems policy, and supervises both theoretical and applied research projects. Her work for SACN supported the organisation’s goals of promoting good governance, analysing strategic challenges, and providing advice to urban leaders when it comes to the management of South African cities. Her book, Innovation Africa: Emerging Hubs of Excellence, explains how critical innovation is for growth and development in Africa, and it draws lessons from successful innovation case studies from across Africa

Born with an insatiable curiosity and a passion for learning, Dr. Karuri-Sebina’s fascination with STEM began at a young age. Growing up in a small town, she often found solace in books, eagerly devouring knowledge about the wonders of the natural world. Her voracious appetite for understanding the complexities of the universe led her to pursue a degree in physics at a prestigious university. With her analytical mind and thirst for exploration, Dr. Karuri-Sebina quickly excelled in her studies, breaking new ground and shattering preconceived notions of what women can achieve in STEM fields. Undeterred by the gender disparities that plagued the industry, she fearlessly forged ahead, proving her worth with every experiment, publication, and breakthrough.

But it was not just her academic prowess that set Dr. Karuri-Sebina apart; it was her unwavering commitment to bridging the gap between science and society. Recognizing the transformative power of STEM education, she dedicated herself to empowering underserved communities and inspiring the next generation of scientists.  Dr. Karuri-Sebina’s efforts to promote STEM education and innovation extended far beyond the classroom. She spearheaded initiatives to bring STEM education to remote regions, working tirelessly to provide access and resources to those who would otherwise be left behind. By organizing workshops, mentoring programs, and community outreach projects, she sought to ignite a passion for STEM in young minds, breaking the cycle of limited opportunities and transforming their lives.

Her endeavors were not limited to education alone. Dr. Karuri-Sebina recognized the importance of diversity and inclusion within the STEM workforce. She advocated for greater representation of women and underrepresented minorities, striving to create an inclusive environment that celebrated the richness of diverse perspectives. Through her leadership, she paved the way for countless aspiring scientists, ensuring that no one would be left behind due to systemic barriers. Dr. Karuri-Sebina’s contributions have not gone unnoticed. She has been recognized with numerous accolades and awards, including the prestigious National STEM Champion of the Year. Her groundbreaking research in sustainable technology and urban planning has revolutionized the field, inspiring innovative solutions to pressing global challenges.


Today, Dr. Geci Karuri-Sebina continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in STEM. As an influential thought leader, she advises governments, organizations, and institutions on how to harness the power of science and technology for the betterment of society. Her expertise and insights have shaped policies and initiatives that address critical issues such as climate change, urbanization, and socioeconomic disparities.  Dr. Karuri-Sebina’s journey serves as a testament to the power of determination, resilience, and a steadfast commitment to making a difference. Through her pioneering work, she has shattered glass ceilings and ignited a passion for STEM in countless individuals. Her tireless efforts have paved the way for a future where diversity and innovation thrive hand in hand.

As we look to the future, it is clear that Dr. Geci Karuri-Sebina’s impact will continue to resonate for generations to come. Her remarkable journey serves as an inspiration to all, reminding us that with passion, perseverance, and a love for knowledge, we can shape a world

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