The Africa-focused technology and digital connectivity events – AfricaCom and AfricaTech – will take place in 2020 as fully-virtual events, under the umbrella of the new Virtual Africa Tech Festival. The events will run simultaneously from November 9 – 13, 2020. Being virtual and providing access to exceptional content for free, the events expect to welcome an even greater number and range of participants than ever before.
Announcing the news, Event Director and the Portfolio Director of Connecting Africa at Informa Tech, Tom Cuthell, said: “After an extensive period of review and consultation, we have decided to proactively transform our events into fully-virtual events in 2020 with AfricaCom, AfricaTech and all our co-located conferences now forming the virtual Africa Tech Festival.”
(TOP: A panel session at AfricaCom 2018. This year, the event will be held via webinars due to the Covid-19 crisis).
Virtual events, usually webinar-based, have become somewhat the norm thanks to the spread of COVID-19 and resultant economic lockdowns the world over. However, the Virtual Africa Tech Festival promises to be different. Organisers have confirmed they will be making use of an advanced event platform with superior functionality to continue to deliver the incredible networking value for participants.
Embracing technology innovation, the Virtual Africa Tech festival will offer conference delegates, expo visitors and exhibitors, a best-in-class digital experience. In addition to 20 premium conference tracks with a host of visionary keynote speakers, there will be an AI-powered matchmaking engine, smart networking via integrated video chat, a virtual expo with virtual booths, more interactive sessions than ever before, intimate virtual VIP breakouts, smart lead capture and many other game-changing features.
New features in 2020:
Attendees can also look forward to exciting new features such as accelerateHER Africa, a co-located event that will champion women founders, leaders and change-makers in tech, new AfricaCom conference tracks: Digital Infrastructure Investment and Connecting the Next Billion, AfricaTech Industry Deep Dives, looking at emerging tech such as AI and IoT in a range of different business contexts, and the new 4IR Talent and Skills Summit.
Enabling and accelerating economic recovery
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of tech in tackling global health crises, as well as it’s vital role as a business enabler. As such, technology is a powerful engine for economic recovery. “We recognise that in these difficult circumstances there is an even greater need to convene Africa’s tech and business communities,” commented Cuthell, who observed that conversations defining the roles of technology and telecommunications in addressing the challenges that lie ahead, need to be had with some urgency.
The new Virtual Africa Tech Festival is the culmination of 23 years of connecting and informing business leaders, technology experts and policymakers on the African continent. High on this year’s agenda, is the mission to equip and inspire people to design, build and run a better, more inclusive, digital world – to unify Africa’s response to the 4IR and, in doing so, accelerate socio-economic development across the continent. In a post-COVID-19 economic landscape, this is more important than ever.
Realising the full transformative potential of technology with greater urgency will require collaboration, creativity, education and focus. At a time when physical, face-to-face contact is more difficult, Virtual Africa Tech Festival will provide a broad digital platform from which to unify and accelerate these efforts.
Going virtual in 2020 also presents an excellent opportunity to make these events infinitely more accessible both within Africa and beyond. An internet connection is now all that is required to participate and be part of a community that is actively shaping Africa’s digital future. Geographical and logistical restrictions are a thing of the past.
Virtual Africa Tech Festival will connect the dots between digital infrastructure investment, enterprise transformation, emerging tech, ICT policy and regulation, start-up investment, digital skills development and tech for good.
Virtual Africa Tech Festival, including AfricaCom and AfricaTech, is part of the Informa Tech Connecting Africa event series, now in its 24th year. A vibrant celebration of Africa’s diverse community of tech champions, Africa Tech Festival is the largest tech and digital connectivity conference and exhibition in Africa, attracting 450 exhibitors and 15,000 attendees in 2019. Key themes for 2020 include 4IR for Africa, Connecting the Next Billion, Digital Infrastructure Investment, Tech for Good, ICT Policy and Regulation, the Future of Work and Talent and Skills Development.