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Juma Allan: Man Who Scored D in Maths to Working on M-Pesa

Juma Allan.
Juma Allan. Photo/X.

Juma Allan is well known in Kenya’s tech sector, he has previously worked with reputable companies like Twiga Foods, M-Kopa, D-Light, and Safaricom’s M-PESA project.

Juma’s dream has always been to be a mechanical engineer despite growing up around his mother’s computers as she ran a cyber cafe.

It was his dad who requested him to join Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and study a computer-related course.

Juma had scored a D in Maths and this would have affected his admission to JKUAT and study in computer science. But he overcame this challenge.

According to Business Today, Juma would quit school three years after he joined.

“I joined JKUAT, bridged math for one semester, then enrolled in IT, but in two to three years, I quit school. Yes, I failed in maths, but I wouldn’t say that doing computer science is a matter of life and death. What math does is enable you to understand computer concepts easily. At the end of the day, it’s something you can learn on your own.” Juma is quoted.


After dropping out of school, he would go on to work with Mover Technologies and Twiga Foods before landing work at the M-Pesa project.

“I developed the M-PESA Daraja API and the present Twiga payment system,” he said.

According to Juma, an API is a programming interface that enables systems to communicate conveniently.

Juma was born and raised in Meru and a firstborn child he has two sisters.

“While I may have struggled in mathematics, I don’t believe that studying computer science is a life-or-death situation,” he says. “Mathematics, though, plays a crucial role in enhancing one’s comprehension of computer concepts,” he added.