This year’s Afrobytes summit is themed The Rise of The African Tech Industry with entrepreneurs, academics, innovators, venture capitalists, tech enthusiasts and established companies including operators gathering to explore business opportunities between the African tech ecosystem and players in the global tech world.
Day one saw a wide variety of discussions covering AI, Fashion, Virtual Reality, 3D printing – and even a seminar from Google about how start-ups can raise their profile on the search engine.
However, the early declaration that Africa missed the agriculture revolution, then the industrial but is definitely present for the technological revolution drew a round of applause with most attendees recognising that the opportunities to build massive businesses and solve problems at the same time are huge.
Andile Masuku from Africa Tech Round Up warned against oversimplification and “this idea that if you have enough money you can land anywhere on the continent and make it happen”. He also commented that he’d seen people from outside Africa make huge assumptions about how a business can develop in Africa with big advisors like McKinsey just not plugged in and engaged enough with people in the ground to give the best advice.
The panel about telecoms infrastructure included Njoki Gichinga, senior strategic partnership and business development specialist at Safaricom who explained how the company has created a new centre to partner and collaborate with start-ups and innovators. She said that mpesa had moved the company into financial services and itis actively looking for new growth opportunities so that it is more than “just” a telco.
Jean - Claude Tshipama, recently appointed CEO Broadband Africa at Eutelsat, outlined the company’s new offering to Connect The Unconnected whereby a satellite connection, dish and modem are supplied to entrepreneurs so they can provide a pre-paid wifi service to local people. He said that this is an opportunity for people to start their own business and become an entrepreneur through collaboration with an established company that understands the African market.
The conference continues today in Paris.