Zakaria Hersi

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Zakaria Hersi
Born Somalia
Nationality Swedish-Somali
Occupation programmer
Known for tech entrepeneur

Zakaria Hersi is a Swedish-Somali citizen, best known for his role in the development and propogation of a phone app called TrueCaller.[1][2][3][4][5]

Personal life

Hersi's family left war-torn Somalia for Sweden when he was four years old.[6] He grew up in Rissne.[7]

Hersi spent 2015-2016 in Kenya, where he led and later sold a successful high-tech startup.[7] He sold that firm in 2016 to return to Sweden when his mother fell ill.

In 2017 Hersi married Almaas Elman, a Canadian-Somali human-rights worker, who came from a family of prominent human rights workers. Elman was killed in Mogadishu, on November 20, 2019.[8][9][10][11][12]

Technical career

Hersi acquired his technical skills in Sweden.[6] But he is best known as a job creator and tech ambassador, in Africa.[7]

Digital Sweden has profiled his efforts to help other Swedish citizens from refugee backgrounds enter the fields of computers and technology.[6] He founded a tech company, in Kenya, that employed 150 people within its first half year. More recently he has served as the African director of TrueCaller, which signed up its one millionth paid subscriber in 2019.[1][2][3][4][5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Truecaller Detects Fake News With New Chat Feature". Busiweek. 2018-10-04. Retrieved 2019-11-22. "Commenting on the launch, Zakaria Hersi, Director of partnerships, Sub Saharan Africa at Truecaller, said, 'As a one-stop communication platform, our IM service will help our users connect and also collaborate to combat the issue of spam. We’re confident that this foundation stone will help build a strong spam-free community.'" 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Truecaller to set up Sub-Saharan Africa headquarters in Nairobi". IT News Africa. 2018-03-02. Retrieved 2019-11-22. "Truecaller has announced plans to set up headquarters in Nairobi,Kenya and has appointed Zakaria Hersi as Director of Partnerships for Africa. In his position, Zakaria will be spearheading Truecaller’s expansion in the region and forging partnerships with various eco-system players." 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Truecaller launches its developer program in Kenya By Gbenga Ajao -8th Nov 2019-11-08". 2019-11-08. Retrieved 2019-11-22. "'With this phenomenal growth that we are seeing, we want to increase our footprint and expand our local team here in Kenya to cater to this growth. Moving forward our ambition is to engage more deeply with the local startup community to help them grow their products by leveraging the Truecaller platform,' said Zakaria Hersi, Director of Partnerships, Africa at Truecaller." 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Caller ID app expands its footprint all across Africa". CNBC Africa. 2019-09-09. Retrieved 2019-11-22. "Truecaller recently announced achieving the milestone of 150 million daily active users on their caller identification and spam blocking mobile application. With 20 per cent of the app's user base coming out of Africa – to discuss the company’s investment in Africa and what comes next, Director of Partnerships Africa, Zakaria Hersi joins CNBC Africa for more." 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Sara Okuoro (2019-08-28). "Truecaller surpasses 1 million paying subscribers globally". Standard Media. Retrieved 2019-11-22. "Zakaria Hersi the Director of Partnerships in Africa at Truecaller says the organization will continue to innovate on advanced features to make communication safe and efficient for their users." 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Johan Colliander (2016-10-23). "Zakaria Hersi ska hitta programmeratalanger i förorten" (in Swedish). Digital Sweden. Retrieved 2019-11-22. "Mest känd är Zakari Hersi för att startat Nigerias motsvarighet till blocket, Kinnevik-ägda Efritin som på bara fem månader gick från noll till 150 anställda." 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Zakaria Hersi startar - tar techvärlden till förorten Tensta" (in Swedish). Breakit Sweden. 2016-06-28. Retrieved 2019-11-22. "“Sedan bär det av till Rosengård i Malmö och därefter till Bergsjön i Göteborg”, säger Zakaria Hersi innan han åker hem till sin egen ort Rissne." 
  8. Abdi Latif Dahur (2019-11-20). "'May God have mercy on her': Somali-Canadian aid worker shot dead in Mogadishu compound". National Post. Retrieved 2019-11-22. "Elman comes from a prominent family of activists whose work has focused on social justice, women’s rights and rehabilitating children affected by Somalia’s decades-long war." 
  9. "Somali-Canadian activist Almaas Elman killed in Mogadishu". CBC News. 2019-11-20. Retrieved 2019-11-22. "Toronto Liberal MP Ahmed Hussen, minister of Families, Children and Social Development, expressed his condolences to Elman's family." 
  10. "Elman death 'disheartening,' reminder of risks civil society takes, Hussen says". CP24 (Ottawa). 2019-11-21. Retrieved 2019-11-22. "Federal cabinet minister Ahmed Hussen is calling the death of Somali-Canadian human-rights worker Almaas Elman devastating news for many people, including him." 
  11. "Rights activist Almaas Elman shot dead in Mogadishu: Peace campaigner's car struck by stray bullet while passing airport, security officials say". The Guardian. 2019-11-21. Retrieved 2019-11-22. "Tributes to Almaas have poured in on Twitter." 
  12. "Somali-Canadian activist Almaas Elman killed in Mogadishu". CTV News. 2019-11-20. Retrieved 2019-11-22. "The Somali ministry of information says Almaas Elman was murdered in the capital city of Mogadishu."