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Africa’s tech trailblazers prep to unpack 4IR

By , ITWeb
Africa , South Africa , 30 Aug 2022

Technology trailblazers across Africa are expected to converge in Cape Town this week to attend Africa Tech Week, a hybrid event focused on 4IR on the continent.

The event is hosted both virtually and at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), and runs from 31 August until 1 September.

Organisers are expecting industry leaders, tech-entrepreneurs, decision-makers, and tech ecosystem players who will jointly unpack the various challenges, scenarios, and economic opportunities 4IR can deliver for organisations looking to adopt the next wave of cutting-edge technology.

A statement by the event sponsor Sentech reads: “Delegates can expect two days of expert panel discussions, keynote addresses, case studies, live-demo experiences, and networking with leaders in the private sector, government, civil society, investors, and academia – all with their unique insights into the different ways artificial intelligence (AI), cryptocurrency, and the Internet of Things (IoT) will affect the future of Africa’s development. This includes breakaways and focus sessions with world-leading authorities on the 4IR’s effects on individual industry sectors, specific fields of production, and different areas of commerce.”

Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Africa Tech Week, said: “It is with great excitement that we announce this year’s programme. With innovation advancing at an exponential rate, now is the time to capacitate African businesses - big and small - with the learnings, strategies, and connections they need to spur their development through the 4IR. It’s time for Africa to take a leading role in shaping the disruptive world of technology and harness it in a way that drives progressive and inclusive change.”

South Africa’s Minister for Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande is scheduled to deliver a keynote presentation.

The agenda includes a panel discussion on ‘The Role of Technology in Achieving Sustainable Development’ with Dr Sean Phillips (Director-General for the Department of Water and Sanitation), Thulani Dlamini (CEO of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), Morne Mostert (Director of the Institute for Futures Research at University of Stellenbosch), and Dr Phil Mjwara (Director-General for the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation).

Further sessions will unpack the ‘Future of IoT in Africa’ with spokespeople from Vodacom, Sentech, and the University of Johannesburg; ‘Strategies for Building Smart Cities in Africa’ with the leadership of Uber Sub-Saharan Africa, the African Smart Cities Innovation Foundation, and Liu Thai Ker, the architect behind Modern Singapore; and ‘How to Maintain a Competitive Technological Edge in a Saturated Market’ with officials from Microsoft, Backbase, and Discovery.

Critical discussions roll over into day two with sessions such as ‘The 101 on Networking and Fundraising for Tech Entrepreneurs’ featuring spokespeople from Norrsken22 and Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE); ‘The Metaverse and What It Means for Africa’ with executives from Revix, Meta UK, and M&C Saatchi Abel; as well as ‘How African Creatives and Entrepreneurs are Growing Exponentially Through Social Media’ with The Kiffness and leadership from Twitter Ireland.

On both days, these discussions will be paralleled by case studies and tech tutorials on issues such as ‘Creative Best Practice for Developing Your YouTube Business’ presented by Artwell Nwaila (Head of Creative at Google South Africa); ‘Intelligent Intra-Continental Trading for Tech Entrepreneurs’ with Habiba Ben Barka (Chief of Africa at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development); ‘How We Think About Innovation at Amazon’ with Shayan Sanyal (Head of Game Tech Business Development for EMEA at Amazon Web Services); and an exploration into ‘Making Africa Space’s Next Hotspot’ with Temidayo Oniosun (Founder and Managing Director of Space in Africa).

Africa Tech Week 2022 will culminate in an awards ceremony which aims to celebrate and reward companies on the African continent that have demonstrated excellence in the areas of innovative product development.

Categories include: Innovation of The Year Award; Technology Company Of The Year; CEO of The Year; Leader of the Year; Women In Tech Award; Best Technology Start-Up; Fintech Award, AI Technology Award and Digital Transformation Award.

Mlamli Booi, CEO of Sentech, added, “The digital world is transforming at an unprecedented rate. Ensuring that Africa remains ahead of the curve requires a multi-layered platform of cooperation between companies, government and civil society - and Africa Tech Week provides a unique opportunity for exactly this sort of dialogue to take place.”

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