Africa as a magnet for investors | Africa Tech Week 2021

The much anticipated Africa Tech Week summit took place on the 5th and 6th of May. Joined by phenomenal speakers and acclaimed sponsors, the event took off to new heights. In a panel discussion by Marian Croak, vice president of engineering at Google, and Lindiwe Matali founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks, the importance of mentorship for young girls and women was highlighted. Marian serves as an excellent mentor and departed sterling advice on achieving your goals in manageable steps at a time.

Yemi Keri, CEO of Heckerbella and co-founder of Rising Tide Africa spoke on the reasons investment in Africa is a golden opportunity. Since the continent has the most youthful population in the world, and this young group behaves as the early adopters of tech, it makes for incredibly fertile grounds for investors.

Addressing the digital divide, Brandwin Roper, CEO of FNB Connect, stated that, “bridging the digital divide is more important now than ever. 4 Billion people are still not connected!” Regarding how to combat the digital divide, Marian Croak eloquently stated that “It’s going to take the government, private corporations, policymakers, and the education system coming together, in a collective way, to solve this problem.” Marian maintained that access to the internet and technology should be a universal right, as it is a fountain of knowledge.

The incredible panel discussion hosted by sponsor PPC on decoupling economic growth from resource generation, made great strides using solution-oriented conversation. On the panel Snowden Mmadi, Infrastructure Expert at the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) was quoted saying that, “the African continent is now on the move in making sure we are using our resources sustainably.”

Acclaimed sponsor Gijima hosted a panel discussion on unlocking Africa’s economic potential through digital transformation, in which it was discussed that a good way to harness Africa’s Economic potential is through collaboration. “None of us is as good as all of us” according to Shubna Harilal, Managing Director of Gijima Technology Services, SA. The crux of the matter is that only Africans are going to change Africa, and in doing so, serve as inspiration for the rest of the globe. The resounding sentiment from day 1 at Africa Tech Week was that “All of us have to really be proud and take advantage of the fact that we are African and this is our time.” – Ashish J Thakkar

On day 2 of the event, Zahra Batie from the Jack Ma Foundation reiterated that Africa is a recently connected continent, a new market, and a magnet for those seeking to make their mark on the world stage. Over the course of the two-day summit, Africa Tech Week certainly made a mark on the world stage! It is predicted that Africa will create 54 million jobs by 2022, largely generated by small and medium enterprises. According to Zahra, African women are twice as likely to start a business as women elsewhere in the world. Zahra maintained that African entrepreneurs have a massive opportunity to uplift the African community.

The forecast is optimistic as Tim Mitchell, head of digital transformation at Flux Labs highlighted that in 5 years’ time, the platform economy is forecast to be worth 60 trillion dollars! “African Time,” previously loaded with negative connotations, has been reclaimed. “African Time,” in fact, makes reference to the fast-paced and innovative way Africa is hurtling ahead towards digitisation.

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