Rimini Makama

Years in Tech


Current Role

Government Affairs Director – Microsoft MEA Emerging Markets – Nigeria and Ghana

Core Skills

Technology Policy, Government Relations, Public Affairs Advocacy, Public Policy, Strategy, Program Management

Interview Date

14th December 2018

Government affairs and public policy professional specializing in technology with an interest in artificial intelligence – its role in society, the future of work and ethics, privacy and cross border data flows. I am based in Lagos and part of the Emerging Market Teams responsible for Nigeria and Ghana. I manage the development and implementation of Microsoft’s public policy initiatives at national and local levels as they relate to the company’s strategic partnerships with a mission to deliver a regulatory and reputational environment. I also help deepen the company’s relationships with government elites, regulatory bodies, the legislature, international organization and academia. I joined Microsoft from africapractice where I was the Communications Director. Prior to africapractice, I was Principal Legal Assistant in the Office of Legal Affairs at the International Criminal Police Organization – ICPO – INTERPOL in Lyon, France. I have an LLB from the University of Jos, Nigeria, BL from the Nigerian Law School, LLM in International Law & World Order from the University of Reading, UK, and CIM Diploma from the London School of Marketing.

Other – In 2014, she was recognized by Forbes as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women under 40 in Africa. She is the executive producer for the 2016 award winning movie Green White Green which has featured in over 20 international film festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival and is currenting working on a new film. Her interests include film production and fashion retail.

What experiences led you to technology and how did you develop the skills to compete in the industry?

Keen interest in technology, as a consultant I found I was more enthusiastic and driven by my technology clients and gained a lot of experience working on these accounts, BlackBerry was my very first technology client. Education – my background is law and so joining the legal team was a natural fit. A lot of constant learning is required for growth, luckily at Microsoft we have a lot of internal resources and trainings and have access to lots of learning platforms including. It also helps to work with thousands of subject matter experts and have peers I can also learn from as all our regions have different issues.

How has your background helped/differentiated you in the tech industry?

A growth mindset, learning culture and being able to explore my different interests within technology and technology policy has been very key to growth. Previous work experience across industries was also very useful, as it introduces news ways of thinking about issues.

What advice would you give to women considering a career in technology? What do you wish you had known?

So many different career paths in exist in technology. Whilst I encourage more girls to study STEM courses – there also alternatives available within technology so don’t be deterred if you can’t code, don’t have a computer science or engineering degree. I am a lawyer – working in the Microsoft legal team (CELA) – but focused on policy and government relations. A lot of my counterparts in Microsoft are commercial attorneys, cybersecurity policy experts, regulatory experts, financial controllers, research, CFO’s, PR managers, philanthropy leads – etc – you get the picture.