Africa tech festival

Africa Technology Festival

Record-breaking records, business deals and inspiring content Ranking of the day

25The tenth The Africa Tech Festival kicked off in Cape Town on Tuesday with record attendance on the first day and a clear buzz from networks after a two-year physical absence due to the global lockdown.

The festival was officially opened by James Williams, Events Director, Informa Tech, who said: “During these 25 years, the event has evolved to ensure that we remain the largest and most influential technology event on the continent and to tell the story of continuous growth and pioneering technologies.and how African innovation is addressing some of the world’s biggest challenges.

“AfricaCom and AfricaTech came together as a festival in 2018 and continue to explore connectivity, infrastructure and the evolution of communications. With this evolution into a festival, we have also worked this year, more than any other, to incorporate some of the stories around the culture, sports, music and entertainment that make the continent such a diverse and unique place to act “.

Adding to Williams’ comments on the event’s growth and legacy, and the official welcoming of delegates to the 2022 event, the Deputy Minister for Communications and Digital Technologies, Republic of South Africa, Mr. Willy Mabulan, noted the value of the event’s ability to bring people together and encourage technology investment in South Africa and the region.

Unpacking the history of technology in Africa and its bright future, Budget Act’s Russell Southwood shared a keynote, saying “…great things have happened to Africa, because of investing in technology over the past 35 years…we now have networks, and now we understand what needs to be done.” And the next, whatever it is 20, 30, 40 or 50 years is going to be really interesting, because when they write a new history of Africa, when it is completely changed, completely different, they will say that it began here.”

The Africa Tech Festival is a hub for business, and in one of the first deals to be signed during the event, the European Investment Bank has entered into a $10 million agreement with the Bandwidth and Cloud Services Consortium (BCS), to support the launch of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s telecom connection. The deal is the first of its kind in a near-global investment by the European Investment Bank, and will support the expansion of the fiber-optic network to reach 2.5 million people, as well as provide high-speed connectivity to 319 schools and 70 hospitals. This will finance 1,250 km of fiber infrastructure out of the 20,000 km BCS is looking to build over the next three years in East, Southern and Central Africa.

Liu Chen, Huawei’s President for Southern Africa, emphasized his commitment to helping Africa digitize its economy, on the three main elements of digital transformation: digital infrastructure, digital services and digital skills. “If we do these three things well, we can connect disconnected people and businesses, fully unleash digital productivity and advance the digital economy, regardless of its definition,” he said. Liu also shared data showing how the digital economy in Sub-Saharan Africa is growing faster than the region’s GDP.

On the topic of investing and creating the climate for it to happen, the Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Jordyn Hale Lewis, shared a keynote speech with delegates on “This is Cape Town – Building Africa’s Innovation and Investment Hub”. Recognizing the role that regulatory frameworks and government involvement play in driving progress, Hill-Lewis said: “Digital transformation in our government not only leads to new opportunities for economic growth and job creation, but also improves government performance for the benefit of all of our population.”

Fadi Pharaoh and Ericsson The company’s recent shared mobility trends marked the rapid uptake of 4G across the region, with Sub-Saharan Africa reporting a staggering 26% increase alone. 4G devices have also taken a huge leap forward, in many cases outpacing 3G devices, thanks in part to the low prices of entry-level mobile models but also the growing market for refurbished smartphones. Pharaoh also noted that: Another enabler that will accelerate 4G adoption are regulatory initiatives to make more spectrum available to key markets. Now we all know that this is the basis of the telecom industry.”

Asked what it means for the government’s commitment to the success of the technology sector, the Cape Town Chief Executive explained:For us in the city, this involves building a conducive environment first and foremost. Our mission is to ensure that you meet the conditions for your success as tech companies, investors, innovators and innovators, not trying to interfere to achieve your success on your behalf.. “

The Africa Tech Festival is a meeting place for enterprises and the all-important startup sector, and AHUB, which has grown in prominence and scope over the past few years, is no exception today. Tomiwa Aladekomo, Tech Cabal Media, and Head of Startup Stage for AHUB, noted how: “Startups have delivered some of the most significant economic growth, foreign direct investment, and job opportunities across the continent over the past few years. Today, a global recession is challenging some of the fastest growing technology companies. Globally, this challenge also affects the capital available for African startups to grow. It is a challenging period, but startups will remain a critical growth engine.”

Delegates received insight from Philip Kerakov, CEO of Startupbootcamp AfriTech on supporting startups to advance innovation, and Theran Knighton-Fitt, Co-Founder and Head of Humanitarian Affairs Mygrow, on how culture, harnessed properly, can create a more more humane and creative. Also, in today’s billing at AHUB, several speakers were sharing where projects and funding for startups in Africa are today.

Crucial to the advancement of digital across the continent is the trust of citizens in the channels offered to them. Tuesday at the Africa Tech Festival, there were several keynote sessions that talked about the growing need for cybersecurity measures. Commenting on how we need to operate along the lines of “Don’t Trust Anything, Check Everything” through increased automation, artificial intelligence, and machine-led impact on everything we do, Alan de Waal-Smit of ITR Technology shared how to take an integrated approach to technology Information systems and management will be required to create a trust-free architecture, which would also attract consumer trust.

Affordable access, of course, is an ongoing topic with every discussion involving the digitization of Africa. He attended an exciting panel discussion entitled: “Empowering Africa’s Connect Pioneers to Bridging the Digital Divide,” where participants noted that while the government was necessary to start providing the framework, it was also up to the private sector to make it sustainable.

Speaking about the need for every user in Africa to take computing power into their own hands, Mariam Abdallah, Director of Android Partnerships, Africa at Google, said: “It’s not just about giving computing power to everyone. You have to give them services that are safe, reliable and fun to use at the time in an affordable way. the cost “.

Also on the AfricaCom Center platform, Pfiona Okumu, Head of Music in Sub-Saharan Africa, Spotify, has advanced the conversation around digital entertainment, sharing how Spotify has at least 10,000 songs uploaded every day. “It almost perfectly democratizes the arts, which is necessary because there is so much talent out there.”

Speaking about parity in digital arts, and using algorithms to address disparity, Okumu also noted, “We are very proactive in our programs to make sure female artists are represented. So we over-index to make sure that happens, so if you listen to female artists frequently, the more you listen For female artists, the more you introduce them. So you get to discover more. This is one way we can use technology to actively drive listening habits to make sure it’s inclusive. Let’s just make sure marginalized creators get an equal amount of shake.”

Digital transformation is at the forefront of conversations on opening day, and the second and third days promise to be two things and full of information.

For those unable to be in Cape Town to catch up on all the action, there is still a chance to get the inside track of Headline Keynotes, by registering as a delegate and downloading the InformaTech app available in the respective app stores.