To celebrate its 20th anniversary, AfricaCom, the continent’s largest and most influential technology, media and telecoms (TMT) event is launching a brand-new technology arena. Located in the recently expanded and soon to be opened, CTICC wing, this entire exhibition hall will be dedicated to tech innovation and Africa’s journey towards the fourth industrial revolution.
Incorporated into this bustling zone between 7th and 9th November 2017, will be an Innovation Stage featuring visionary insights on future tech trends that also includes energetic discussions on the Internet of Things (IoT), Smart Cities, Big Data, Fintech, Blockchain, E-Health and Artificial Intelligence. Add in wearable tech, drones, a host of augmented and virtual reality gadgets, games and applications, all housed in one comprehensive really smart space.
This buzzing hive of activity, will be home to more than 100 technology focused exhibitors as well as the centrepiece of the arena, AfricaCom 20/20. This is a brand-new show floor feature dedicated to accelerating Africa’s digital transformation. As the centrepiece of the Technology Arena, AfricaCom 20/20 will host the Technology Arena Launch Party to kick off the 20th-anniversary celebrations on Monday evening 6th November 2017, as well as acting as the base for all other 20th anniversary celebrations.
Underpinning the importance of this event and this stream, Microsoft has signed on as a lead sponsor. Expect a vibrant showcase of new digital solutions presented by AfricaCom’s top 20 innovators, and thought-provoking conference content built around the theme ‘providing clarity of vision on future tech trends’.
Asif Valley, Cloud Development Lead – Microsoft South Africa, commented on the company’s involvement in this year’s event saying: “Digital transformation is critically important to the success of businesses across Africa, and Microsoft is focused on helping our customers successfully achieve their digital business transformation. Powered by our people and our mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more, we have been driving cloud innovation and growth across Africa for a number years.
“We also recently announced a significant investment into data centres in the African region, which expands on our existing investments aimed at: unleashing innovation to solve some of the biggest problems facing humanity; building and developing small businesses; and alleviating unemployment and poverty on our continent”.
Also on display in the new TA will be especially created demo pods will also enable delegates (over 13 000 are expected this year), to interact with next generation technologies, to help shape their own thoughts and possibilities of what is to come and what might be.
Underpinning the entire show and a narrative that will particularly dominate the technology arena, are the questions: What are the skills needed to accelerate Africa’s digital transformation – what infrastructure, policy, partnerships and collaborations are required to turn Africa into a global digital giant? What will the next 20 years of digital transformation in Africa look like and how will this transformation impact different vertical markets – manufacturing, utilities, agriculture, education, government, banking and beyond.
Some of the solutions will need to include novel uses of technology to solve socio-economic challenges in Africa, as well as Innovative business models to stay ahead of the game in an age of digital disruption and transformation as we march ever closer to digital inclusion.
Providing some of the answers to these questions and shining a light on potential solutions, is this year’s AHUB, also conveniently located in the TA.
The AHUB will showcase talent and facilitate ICT partnerships, and is geared to once again unleash the power of the start-up ecosystem across Africa. New in 2017, is a programme that has been designed to highlight the critical role of entrepreneurship in fuelling the continent’s digital economy. This will feature briefings for both start-us and investors, as well as live pitch sessions. Also in the mix for the first time, is the AHUB Start-up Academy with skills workshops and sector snapshots covering FinTech, E-Health, AgriTech, clean energy and ICT4D. Critical for entrepreneurs, will be a series of panel discussions aimed at helping them understand investor mentalities and also how to develop a disruptive mindset.
“AfricaCom has always been the event to come to futureproof one’s business, getting the inside track on systems that will affect growth and development as well as the opportunity of meeting other like-minded and complementary businesses involved in the sector.
“It has evolved over the years from being a purely telecommunications based event, to one where technology commands the stage. As it underpins everything, it seemed only fitting that we create an exhibit in which, to centrally house some of the most exciting tech and ideas that will impact on Africa’s digital advancement,” commented Tom Cuthell, Portfolio Director at KNect365.