Global Tech Africa: setting the stage for technological transformation in Africa

by MMC
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The inaugural edition of the Global Tech Africa (GTA) conference concluded on November 19, 2023, starting from November 17 at the Lekki Coliseum in Lagos, Nigeria. The four-day event has established itself as a critical platform for the advancement of Africa’s digital economy, providing unprecedented insight into the potential and future of the continent’s technology ecosystem.

The conference kicked off with a private reception on November 16, 2023, hosted by Dr. Herbert Wigwe, founder of the HOW Foundation and Wigwe University. The reception was a gathering of international stakeholders and partners, to set the stage and launch collaborative conversations.

Read also: Meet the Nigerian AI startup that won the Africa Fast Award at a global tech event

On the 17th, the event kicked off with a keynote address by Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) of Nigeria, in which he highlighted the ambition of the Nigeria to become the technological capital of Africa. In his opening speech, he highlighted the government’s commitment to partnering with various entities to create a platform for networking and idea generation. “The government is partnering with NGOs, organizations, foundations and the international community to create this platform so that we can network and brainstorm ideas on how to implement policies that can boost the ecosystem and to position Nigeria as a digital power in the global landscape. ” he said.

Dr. Inya Lawal, GTA Conference Implementation Partner, highlighted the collaborative nature of the conference, emphasizing its catalytic role in driving digital transformation across Africa. Highlighting the interdependence of the public and private sectors, she stressed the need for joint efforts to advance the technology industry, highlighting it as a catalyst to initiate crucial conversations and united planning to steer the African technology ecosystem towards sustainable growth. She said: “GTA is that platform where government and private sectors can collaborate in effective partnerships to foster Africa’s technology ecosystem. We need each other and we also need to find alliances that work for us.

The first day of the conference included roundtable discussions and panels moderated by Dr. Emmanuel Tarfa, Ms. Bashira Hassan and Mr. Toye Oyewunmi. Topics included international frameworks for startups, the importance of data tracking in Nigeria’s technology ecosystem, and strategies to harness human resources for technological advancement. In line with the objectives of the conference, a quick session on advancing the digital economy and growth in Nigeria was one of the highlights of the conference. The engineer was present. Jennifer Adighije, Senior Special Assistant to the President for Entrepreneurship Development in Innovation and the Digital Economy; Charles Odii, political director general of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN); and the moderator, Kenise Hill, Deputy and Economic Chief of the United States Consulate General in Lagos.

International actors, including the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), participated in discussions focused on the digitalization of the African technology ecosystem. Tracy Okoro Isaac, CEO of Ventures Park, moderated the session, emphasizing the importance of partnerships. Markus Wauschkuhn, coordinator of GIZ Nigeria, highlighted the importance of pro-foreign investor policies to nurture the technology ecosystem.

Furthermore, the conference discussed the promising future of the healthcare sector in Nigeria, at the intersection of healthcare and technology. The impact of technology on the art and cultural scene was also explored through an exhibition by artist Alex Israel, showing how augmented and virtual realities have influenced his works, followed by an exhibition by the Goethe Institute titled “Dreaming New Worlds.” The role of technology in accelerating the growth of music in Africa was discussed by Dr Bada Akintunde-Johnson, Efe Omorogbe and James Afuwape.

While the Global Tech Africa conference was also focused on developing young talents, emphasis was placed on accelerating startups in higher education institutions and improving student experience through technology, with young founding students such as Sola Owonikoko, who led the panel.
Mary Katambi, Founder of iGee Closet of the Nigerian University of Technology and Management (NUTM), Damilola Mogaji, Founder of Consonance of Obafemi Awolowo University, John Alalade, Founder of Uniconne and Victor Afia, Founder of Stickerkeen. These young founders explained how innovation starts at the grassroots, as students will always find creative ways to solve their problems, which leads to exceptional technological innovations: startups in the making.

The GTA conference recognizes the central role of diversity in promoting innovation. Empowering African women is key to advancing their digital capabilities to the next level. The panel was led by Dr. Olori Boye Ajayi and included Steffi Czerny, co-founder of the DLD Conference, and Julia Klockner, Member of the German Parliament.
As a key partner of this transformative event, DLD actively participated in crucial discussions that shaped the narrative around Africa’s booming technology space. These discussions focused on the challenges faced by women technology entrepreneurs in Africa and initiatives to empower women to leverage technology in their businesses.

Read also: Global Tech Africa: Strengthening the technology ecosystem in Africa

The GTA conference also hosted a pitch session and seed funding for young tech founders, with Rukayat Kolawole emerging as the winner, securing a “SECURE” $20,000 investment in her startup, Regxta. The company provides quick and easy access to small businesses in rural areas with a specific focus on internally displaced people and refugees.

The success of the GTA 2023 conference was made possible through collaboration with key partners including Future Map Foundation, NITDA Nigeria, US Consulate General Lagos, Ascend Studios Foundation, Venture Garden Group, HOW Foundation, Wigwe University, Trail, Business. Sweden, RivExcel Health and others. These organizations recognize the immense potential of Africa’s digital economy and are committed to supporting its growth and development. The Global Tech Africa Conference 2023 played its role as a convention for influential technology players. It has emerged as a testament to the vast prospects of the African tech industry and a source of inspiration for young minds, reinforcing the belief that success in the African tech space is not only achievable but guaranteed.

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