Africa as a Driver of Technovation

Sustainable digital transformation, applied in the context of startups, tech hubs and big business is what will define Africa as the “new frontier,” enabling actionable inspiration far beyond the continent. Founded in Africa, by Africans, for Africans, the most important tech event of the year, Africa Tech Week 2021, is set to be a platform and springboard for like-minded individuals and thought leaders can catapult themselves into a successful space. A space where digital change and evolution is quite possible. In the words of Elon Musk, the great industry disrupter, “Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.”

The poll data from Africa Tech Week 2020 showed that out of the 904 registrants that attended the event, only 42.6 were confident in their ability to integrate multiple technologies into daily work tasks. When the attendees were asked “which resources are important for your business right now”, 32% selected the “information technology option.”  When asked the question, “when investing in tech, which aspects motivate you more?” 43.1% said competitive edge. The 2020 Net Promoter Score was 9.25.These results served as evidence for a strong business case to hold another conference with the purpose of unifying and benefitting big business, policy makers, academia and startups.

The questions one should be asking themselves is: “how can we, as a collective continent, accelerate investment in technology thereby catalyzing economic growth?” The answers will come alive in the discourse at Africa Tech Week, where individuals and organizations have the opportunity to combine their “brain power,” learn from one another’s failures and successes, and forge a clear path to prosperity. A thriving utopia, where equality, empowerment and education guide us.

We, as a cohesive community of technovators can achieve this in our lifetime for the future of the generations that follow. As Nikola Tesla said, “when wireless is perfectly applied to the whole earth it will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole.” The same can be said for technological transformation.

Gijima, PPC, Voxowave and the City of Cape Town, as the proud sponsors of Africa Tech Week, have bought into this idea. Speakers from Google and Zoom stand alongside them, in vehement solidarity that without collaboration in the context of digital innovation, we are powerless.

The reasons to attend the conference are bountiful as together we can combine our resources and ideas to benefit the collective whole. It is imperative that we ignite conversation on topics including, cloudification, 5G, cybersecurity and AI. Another stellar reason to be at Africa Tech Week is that it is a golden opportunity to build fruitful and lasting connections and it is a gateway to enhancing and expanding knowledge, expertise and a fresh perspective.

In a compelling article, Rwanda’s The New Times highlighted the importance of a sturdy digital infrastructure in Africa. An overarching sentiment is that the future of growth is digital. The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed Ali has stressed the urgency for African economies to respond effectively to the accelerating pace of digital transformation.

At the 2019 Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Vera Songwe, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) stated that, “The value of the global digital economy is estimated at over $11.5 trillion, set to rise to over $23 trillion by 2025.” The good news is that Africa is already making great strides in embracing tech and has a talented and youthful population enthusiastic about following through.

There are over 600 tech hubs on the African continent, ranging from accelerators and incubators to co-working sites. Although the startup game is known to be the “survival of the fittest,” an incredible ethos of “community is power” is driving the ecosystem. Africa’s tech environment with the input of startups and the like is projected to strengthen and grow in the coming years.

Africa Tech Week has partnered with Silicon Cape, Africa Teen Geeks, BPESA, the British Chamber of Commerce and many more to bring about an event that will catapult Africa into a sphere where a plethora of prospects are real and tangible. As the CEO of Topco Media, Ralf Fletcher has said, “we see our role as showcasing the exciting transformation that Africa is experiencing. With investments from organisations like Stripe into Nigeria demonstrating the massive opportunity and ability to scale on the continent, our purpose is to show how Africa is transforming the world.”