Major obstacles that the continent is facing include the structural challenges required to develop Africa's digital ecosystem, along with the importance of building a skills base. This topic — among others that have the power to propel Africa into owning its digital future — will be up for discussion at AfricaCom.

According to the event, connectivity is the backbone of all economic opportunities and therefore Africa's 'thrival'. This refers to beyond Africa's sustainability and survival to being a thriving, digitally enhanced continent. The connectivity track and exhibition hall also explore and showcase what is required for the enablers of this desired 'thrival', the telcos, to become fully digital.

A panel discussion will take place on Wednesday, 13 November, which will talk about how emerging technologies will assist this transformation. The panel intends to highlight what these technologies are and how they will secure a digital future. The conversation includes:
  • How to maximise the transformative impact of innovative technologies on lives and businesses in Africa
  • How to see short-term practical benefits from new technology rollouts
  • How to effectively scale these technologies to solve society's challenges
  • What are the key barriers to increased technology adoption?
  • Who is best placed to overcome these barriers?
The confirmed moderator for this session is Terryanne Chebet, general manager at Metropol TV. Chebet will be joined by:
  • Hon. Paula Ingabire, minister of ICT and Innovation, Republic of Rwanda
  • Isabel dos Santos, chair at UNITEL;
  • Carole Wamuyu Wainaina, chief operating officer at Africa50
  • Juliet Ehimuan, country director at Google Nigeria
  • Charlene Verzmoter, head of philanthropy at Microsoft
According to the event, the growth of digital will facilitate profound advancement for Africa on a number of levels. The most impactful — aside from how it will enhance education and thus tomorrow's businesses — will be the changing of the current business landscape.

Enterprise Digital Transformation will, therefore, be a key theme at this year's AfricaTech Centre Stage, which will be a new show feature. The sessions include:
  • Technology is fundamentally reshaping the way we do business: What should enterprise leaders expect in two years, five years, 10 years and 20 years, and how should they respond?
  • How is artificial intelligence transforming African business and how can it be used to elevate African economies?
  • Improving mining safety and retaining competitive advantage: utilising IoT to power Africa's largest industry
  • Cybersecurity and data privacy: Don't let rapid digital transformation and technology adoption become a double-edged sword!
Also sharing their knowledge will be some of the brightest women in world telecoms and technology. They will discuss industry trends, such as best practices of accessing global markets, opportunities and gaps on the continent and an engaging fireside chat discussing what goes into deciding to invest in an idea.

The Women in Tech track intends to turn over key issues for women in the industry. The issues range from the need for diversity in AI to challenging the 'bro-culture' coined by KRS Software's CEO Lorraine Steyn on the challenges women face in breaking into the industry, staying in it or returning to it.

Additionally, they will address how to make the industry more attractive for women, as well as how to attract top women talent to the industry by offering remote and flexible working conditions.
The line-up, called 'Speaking up and Speaking out', will include:
  • Matsi Modise (Furaha Solutions)
  • Baratang Miya (GirlHype and Uhuru Spaces)
  • Carol Bouwer (CB Productions)
  • Hannah Subayi (South Suez Capital)
  • Tanya Van Lill (SAVCA)
  • Anelisa Tuswa (ETV)
  • Lebogang Miya (Mari)
  • Lethabo Motsoaledi (
  • Siyabonga Tiwana (Skywalk Innovations)
  • Nomso Kana (SEDA)
  • Emma Wade-Smith OBE (HM Trade Commissioner for Africa)
  • Marilyn Radebe (Black IT Forum)
  • Elisabeth Medou Badang (Orange)
  • Lorraine Steyn (Khanyisa Real Systems)
  • Louise de Beer (Leadhome)
  • Kutlwano Mofolo (Tech Savvy Kids)
  • Eugina Jordan (Parallel Wireless)
  • Cassandra Enyan (Google)
  • Shivani Pillay (Uber)
  • Deseré Orrill (Ole!Connect)
Other highlights of AfricaCom include:
  • IoT World Africa
  • AI Summit Cape Town
  • FinTech Africa
  • LeadersIn Summit
  • Connecting Africa
Headliners are free to attend and the full line-up is available here.

More than 15 000 visitors are expected to attend AfricaCom in 2019, along with the line-up of heavyweight speakers and industry experts who will be sharing their knowledge and opportunities.

Registration is open for delegates and media.

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*Image courtesy of AfricaCom