From November 13 to 16, 2023, Cape Town played host to over 13,000 tech and telco leaders, founders, influential investors, and top government officials who came to the city for the 26th edition of AfricaCom. TechAfrica News, as a media partner, had the chance to cover this power-packed event that saw the city transformed into a nexus of technological prowess and visionary leadership.
We took an active role at AfricaCom 2023. Once again, our team was on the ground, conducting exclusive interviews with industry leaders, visionaries, and innovators. By engaging in meaningful conversations with the people and companies shaping the future of African technology, we gained unique perspectives on the challenges, opportunities, and trends that define the industry.
Being on the ground at AfricaCom 2023 allowed us to go beyond the surface, delving into the core of challenges and opportunities in African technology. Our commitment is to distill these insights into meaningful dialogues, offering our audience an authentic and comprehensive view of the tech landscape.Akim Benamara, Founder of TechAfrica News
We are excited to bring these insightful dialogues to our audience, providing them a front-row seat to the discussions unfolding at AfricaCom. Through our interviews, we aim to offer a nuanced understanding of the dynamic landscape, empowering our audience with the knowledge to navigate the ever-evolving realm of technology in Africa.
AfricaCom 2023 served as a strategic platform for in-depth discussions on key elements pivotal to Africa’s digital future. One of the central themes focused on the convergence of telecoms, infrastructure, and policy, aiming to position Africa as a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). This emphasis on unity across sectors recognizes the interconnected nature of technological progress, policy frameworks, and foundational infrastructure.
Connecting Africa’s next billion emerged as a critical objective, underscoring the conference’s commitment to overcoming digital divides and ensuring widespread access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable internet services. The event sought to deliver on the promise of inclusive digital participation and economic development by addressing the challenges within Africa’s connectivity ecosystem. The focus on Telcos of Tomorrow demonstrated a keen awareness of the rapidly evolving telecommunications landscape. The conference aimed to equip industry players with insights to navigate the complexities of the continent’s digital transformation journey by exploring the latest strategies, innovations, and technology trends. This forward-looking perspective is essential for staying competitive and responsive to the dynamic needs of the digital era.
The overarching importance of discussing these topics at industry events like AfricaCom lies in the opportunity for collaboration between the private and public sectors. Such gatherings facilitate the exchange of ideas, foster partnerships, and encourage a holistic approach to addressing the complex challenges and opportunities presented by Africa’s digital evolution.
ST Engineering iDirect’s Focus on Africa’s Evolving Connectivity Needs
In a conversation with TechAfrica News, Craig Bowley discusses ST Engineering iDirect’s commitment to Africa, showcasing satellite solutions for seamless connectivity and innovation. Bowley emphasized seamless technology integration for existing customers and addresses the pivotal role of satellite technology in bridging connectivity gaps in rural Africa
In Africa, where 8 out of 10 people own a mobile phone, cellular connectivity is a major player. While traditional networks may not reach rural areas, satellites provide a swift solution. We’re part of the ecosystem, collaborating with MNOs to bridge the gap, especially as Africa moves into 5G.Craig Bowley, VP of Sales for EMEA, ST Engineering iDirect
The industry voices at AfricaCom 2023
Explore our in-depth discussions with key industry players directly from the vibrant floor of AfricaCom 2023. Check the insights and perspectives shared during these engaging conversations, capturing the event’s dynamic atmosphere and showcasing the diverse voices that shape the technological landscape.
Connectivity in Africa is undergoing a significant transformation, with increased investment in digital infrastructure and the expansion of mobile networks. This evolution promises to bridge gaps, foster economic growth, and enable broader access to information and services across the continent.
Africa remains a rapidly growing economy, presenting tremendous opportunities for Ciena. The increasing demand for capacity aligns with our strengths, especially in connectivity. With the growing number of cables entering the region, we are keenly watching the expansion of network infrastructure. Ciena is committed to supporting this growth and playing a pivotal role in enhancing connectivity across the continent.Laurent Martinez, Director of Sales, EMEA Submarine, and Africa Region at Ciena
A multi-vendor environment in the deployment of 5G technology is essential for Africa as it provides flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and innovation. This approach allows network operators to choose components from various suppliers, catering to diverse regional needs and economic conditions. The competitive environment fosters cost reductions, making 5G infrastructure more affordable for mobile operators facing budget constraints.
At Protei, we are focusing on offering standard network elements that are compatible with each other. These elements can be deployed in a multi-vendor environment, allowing operators to choose components from different vendors. This approach encourages healthy competition and makes the prices and conditions for 5G elements more affordable for mobile operators.Vladimir Freinkman, Vice President of Protei
Fostering partnerships is crucial, particularly in regions where digital inclusion and connectivity shape community futures. The transformative potential of technology in such areas has led to innovative solutions, exemplified by consortiums like Skyflow. This collaboration showcases the power of uniting expertise, providing groundbreaking, game-changing solutions for African communities.
At Africacom 2023, Richard Smith (EKT), Pierre Hunter (EZDRM), and Alex Beach (ST Engineering iDirect), discussed the groundbreaking Skyflow and their vision for Africa’s digital and more connected future.
Skyflow‘s strength lies in its collaborative ecosystem, comprising five key partners, each bringing distinctive expertise to the table. EasyBroadcast delivers a robust Content Management System, while ST Engineering iDirect specializes in Modulation and Transmission. EKT provides cost-effective Set-Top-Box solutions, and Quadrille excels in Encoding and Packaging for diverse content delivery. EZDRM, a DRMaaS pioneer, ensures standardized security for broadcast distribution. Together, these partners synergize to make Skyflow a comprehensive solution, adept at meeting diverse content delivery needs.
Why do we consistently stress the importance of connectivity and narrowing the usage gap in rural areas? Why should communities grappling with challenges like limited access to water and electricity prioritize and pay attention to connectivity? The answer is clear – the future of these communities is linked to access to education, health, and essential services.
However, initiatives like Skyflow are stepping in to address these challenges, presenting opportunities beyond bridging the digital divide. Skyflow aims to make a meaningful impact by enhancing connectivity and delivering essential education and health services to areas where they are most needed.
Skyflow represents a consortium of five like-minded companies united by a shared belief in a groundbreaking technology known as DB NIP. Skyflow addresses a critical issue in the African market by revolutionizing multicast video technology. Despite its static nature for the past 40-50 years, transitioning from analog to digital, it fails to align with modern viewing trends. Traditional multicast operators, like Direct-to-Home (DTH) providers, struggle to adapt, losing market share. Enter DB NIP: it transforms mobile-viewable unicast channels into a multicast-like format, enabling seamless streaming to diverse devices, revitalizing the viewing experience.Richard Smith, Managing Director, EKT
We know that the world has changed and that business as usual is no longer. However better business is possible, and we have witnessed that here this week. It has been exceptionally busy, and the feedback we have had from delegates, speakers, exhibitors has reaffirmed our commitment to continue growing the event in the years to come, including emphasizing the growing importance of Africa’s entrepreneurs and start-up sector.James Williams, Event Director, at Informa Tech
Navigating Africa’s Digital Future: Insights from Accenture’s Nitesh Singh at AfricaCom 2023
At AfricaCom, Nitesh Singh, Managing Director for Communications, Media & Technology for Africa at Accenture, discussed the evolving policy landscape in Africa’s digital transformation, emphasizing the historical flexibility of policies that initially drove ICT growth. Singh highlighted the recent slowdown and stressed the need for a stronger dialogue between private and public sectors to adapt to the changing technological landscape. In a thoughtful conversation, Akim Benamara, Founder of TechAfrica News, explored challenges posed by rapid technological advancements and the crucial balance between regulatory control and innovation, shaping the dialogue on the future of digital policies in Africa.
In the African context, if we reflect on the early years of the telecommunications boom on the continent, the policies were notably flexible and facilitated a swift deployment of ICT and telecommunications services to the market. However, in recent years, there seems to be a slowdown. Tighter policy control has been observed. As I mentioned on the panel, I believe there’s a need for a more robust private sector-public sector dialogue to foster a win-win mindset and greater flexibility in today’s age.Nitesh Singh, Managing Director for Communications, Media & Technology for Africa, Accenture
In this interview, Nonkqubela Jordan-Dyani, Director-General at the Ministry of Communications & Digital Technology in South Africa shares insights on AfricaCom 2023. The event, particularly the Africa Tech Festival, has seen increased collaboration between the public and private sectors to address Africa’s digital challenges. Jordan-Dyani emphasizes the importance of platforms like AfricaCom in fostering collaboration and addressing issues such as digital inclusion and connectivity gaps.
The event has been growing impressively. Recognizing its significance, our department has escalated its involvement from occasional collaboration to a full partnership. AfricaCom uniquely brings together private sector, government, industry players, think tanks, academia, and the entire vendor supply chain. Given Africa’s challenges in digital connectivity and application deployment, this platform is vital.Nonkqubela Jordan-Dyani, Director-General at the Ministry of Communications & Digital Technology in South Africa
In the interview, Nonkqubela Jordan-Dyani delved into the challenges of improving connectivity for the unconnected, highlighting the need for both government initiatives and private sector collaboration. Jordan-Dyani mentioned specific projects, such as South Africa Connect Phase 2, which aimed to bridge the connectivity gap by auctioning spectra with obligations to connect government facilities and involving broadband infrastructure companies and small players.
TechAfrica News organized the Hamwe Networking Night for the second consecutive year during AfricaCom 2023, bringing together industry leaders, professionals, and enthusiasts for an evening of collaboration and celebration. The term “Hamwe,” meaning “together” in Rwanda, perfectly encapsulates the event’s essence, emphasizing the power of unity in shaping Africa’s digital future. Set against the dynamic backdrop of the Hamwe Networking Night, the event underscored the crucial role of partnerships and togetherness in influencing Africa’s digital landscape.
The Hamwe Networking Night, held at Cape Town’s premier speakeasy, the Gin Bar, provided a captivating setting in the heart of the city. This year’s event witnessed an exciting leap in participation, with over 250 attendees, a remarkable increase from 2022, representing 100 African and international companies. Notable industry leaders, including Vodacom, MTN, M-Pesa, C-Cell, Telkom, Safaricom, and more, were among the diverse group of attendees.city’s heart.