The 9th annual East Africa Com opened in Nairobi today with great debates showcasing the dynamism of the region’s market. Senior executives from the telecoms, media and ICT sector from the whole region were in attendance to define strategies for a changing market as well as to network with their peers and to do business.
The keynote session offered a great overview of the key trends, challenges and opportunities facing stakeholders in the digital market. A debate on the evolution of the ecosystem saw Michael Ghossein, CEO of Orange Kenya and Joseph Mucheru, Sub-Saharan Africa Ambassador at Google lock horns on the subject of partnerships and revenue sharing between operators and OTT players.
Richard Bell, CEO of triple player Wananchi showcased the diversity of the opportunities in the new digital ecosystem. He summed up the enthusiasm of many in the audience by saying: “The reason we’re all here at this event and the reason why East Africa is so exciting is because East Africa is all about innovation, change and growth”.
The other main subject of the day was broadband and connectivity, whether from mobile or fibre/satellite developments. The sessions included contributions from MTN Business Kenya, Airtel, Canar Telecom Sudan, PCCW/Gateway, Eutelsat and more. The conference in the afternoon broke into two sessions, one looking further into connectivity themes and another one looking at Customer Experience Management with in particular a presentation from Safaricom.
Meanwhile the adjacent exhibition was all about networking and business meetings. Over 25 exhibitors showcased their products and solutions for the market. A Speed Networking session took place during the morning coffee break, bringing together 20+ VIP guests from the region’s leading operators to meet solutions providers and vendors. The day ended with a poolside networking drinks reception sponsored by Liquid Telecom – a great place to unwind after a busy day!
“It is clear from the debates both in the conference and in the networking breaks that the East Africa region is a great hub for business in Africa” says Julie Rey, Research Director at organisers Informa Telecoms & Media; “We are proud to organise East Africa Com as the region’s annual forum to encourage debate and business deals in this dynamic environment”.
The second day of East Africa Com will include sessions on data strategies, digital services, mobile money, mobile marketing and the AppGig for developers.
The event continues tomorrow with various speakers expected to make their presentations. The two-day industry event is an important as seen from its online strength on Twitter where it ranked as the #2 trending topic in Kenya as indicated here and indicated in the image below.