Africa Tech Festival 2023: Focusing on Energy, Sustainability, and Digital Solutions for Growth

The festival addresses Africa’s energy needs, explores clean tech, and discusses digital assets for sustainability.

Africa Tech Festival has spent 26 years presenting and unpacking the latest developments in technology and telecommunications to a global audience vested in seeing Africa grow into its full potential. All agree that connectivity is the backbone of the continent’s future, but without the energy to power it, any progress is severely hampered.

Taking place in Cape Town, South Africa 13 – 16 November, Africa Tech Festival is expected to attract 15 000 local and international professionals from across the technology, telecommunications, and digital media space. High on the agenda for those living and working on the African continent, is energy, sustainability and how digital assets can play a role in safeguarding all our futures.

Businesses across Africa have benefitted enormously from leap-frogging traditional technology to access the digital world and wireless connectivity, and this is spurring phenomenal growth across the continent.

The incredible advantages of digitalisation are, however, dependent on a plentiful and reliable source of power, and it’s essential that the public sector has strong strategies in place to drive this growth. This has become an important point of discussion and will be addressed across several sessions at this year’s event with the launch of a dedicated stage around Sustainability & Climate Resilience.

James Williams, Director, Events | Connecting Africa | Informa Tech, Organiser of the Africa Tech Festival

According to the International Energy Agency, Africa could produce 80 per cent of the new power generation it needs from solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal and other renewable energies. In fact, interest and investment in Africa’s clean energy tech is growing, with the continent’s climate tech start-ups securing over $860 million in equity funding over the past 12-months or so. Unpacking this will be a Fireside chat: Triple Growth Surge: The Remarkable Rise of Climate Tech Investment in Africa.

A wealth of information on the subject is available to visitors and delegates at this year’s festival. Among others are the likes of: Panel: Capitalising on Africa’s Rich Resources to Accelerate the Shift Towards Green Energy; Fireside Chat: Can Digital Assets Hold the Keys to Net-Zero Ambitions for Africa? looking at how blockchain, digital currencies, and other digital assets can drive green initiatives, renewable energy adoption, and sustainable practices on the continent.

Also on the cards, is a Fireside chat: Universal Power Access: Plotting a Route Through Africa’s Electricity Challenge, that will be led by H.E. Dr. Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, Minister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity, The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa, and Miriam Altman, Director: Altman Advisory & Professor of 4IR Practice, University of Johannesburg.

On the main stage at AfricaIgnite, there will be several sessions aimed at how start-ups on the continent are launching innovative solutions to help drive sustainable development in an all-important Fireside Chat: Profit, Purpose & Planet: Navigating the Circular Economy and Climate Tech, along with another vital Fireside Chat: Agritech’s Triple Bottom Line: Addressing Climate Change, Food Security, and Economic Growth in Africa.
Africa Tech Festival’s home in Cape Town, the CTICC, is fortunate to have an alternative power source to prevent blackouts. However, not everyone enjoys this privilege. Events like the Africa Tech Festival play a vital role in bringing industry leaders together to discuss sustainable power solutions, addressing the power supply disparities.

Voluntary offloads are another big talking point as businesses strive towards 1%, and the panel, “Tackling Rising Emissions: Innovative Ways Businesses Are Reducing their Carbon Footprint” (Nov 14, 2023, 2:40 PM to 3:25 PM, 1.61 – Level 1, CTICC 1) will unpack how companies are going about working towards hitting their targets.

This year the festival welcomes top speakers across the industry for a deep dive into the important topics of sustainability and climate including:

  • Duan Du Toit, Group Executive Head: Energy Performance at Vodacom Group Technology
  • Wassim El-Metwally, Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer, Al Baraka Bank Egypt
  • Miriam Altman Director: Altman Advisory & Professor of 4IR Practice University of Johannesburg
  • Abel Sakhau, Chief Sustainability Officer, Sanlam Group and
  • Sabrine Chennaoui, Co-Founder & CEO, Monsapo.

As it did in leapfrogging legacy technology, so too is Africa taking the necessary leaps and bounds to create innovative solutions. This is not only for the continent’s power energy needs but for developing a new sustainability model, that the rest of the world should take note of.

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