Whether your focus is connectivity infrastructure, disruptive technologies, digital services or ICT strategy, AfricaCom 2018 – 13 to 15 November at the CTICC in Cape Town, South Africa – will be the place to be to shape Africa’s digital future.
AfricaCom in 2018, turns 21 and will be bigger and better than ever, taking into account the ever increasing influence of technology on everyday lives. As a result, several new features will be launched this year. As always though, the world’s largest Africa-focused technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) event, will offer visitors and delegates the prospect to discover and conclude business opportunities, as well as network with some of the most progressive minds in the sector.
More than 30 of these thought-leaders, over three days, will advance the conversation around Africa’s digital transformation through a series of expert sessions – the AfricaCom Headliners – which are free of charge to all registered visitors this year. “We made a decision to open up a number of key conference areas, as we recognise the importance and significance of the conversations taking place around a multitude of topics all connected by the backbone of technology,” commented Tom Cuthell, portfolio director of KNect365, organisers of AfricaCom. “The more people involved in these discussions, the quicker Africa will advance towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Where do Telcos fit in the digital ecosystem?
With greater connectivity comes greater responsibility and a requirement for new business models to address this latest era of communications. As the conduit for all this connectivity, telcos will need to explore how they can connect the next 1 billion and unlock the true value of Africa’s digital transformation – beyond the commercial.
Addressing these issues, the Headliners will present a number of keynote addresses and discussions, including the evolving role of the African telco in a new age of data and digital services by Rob Shuter, Group President and CEO, MTN, on Day One of AfricaCom 2018. While the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) may continue to own the billing relationship in the current communication equation, the ability for customers to connect, converse and consume content is no longer dependent on telcos, with a myriad of alternative methods available to them. In order then, to do more than reverse downward revenue trends and prosper, telcos need to re-engineer their businesses to grab a slice of the paradoxically, increasing volume pie. This will be one presentation guaranteed to hold attention and stimulate debate.
From LTE to 5G in Africa
Kicking off proceedings on day one though, and under the banner of ‘Digital connectivity to drive socio-economic development’, will be a discussion around Africa’s readiness for 5G. This also sets the scene for 5G Africa (formerly LTE Africa), which will run over two-days. 5G Africa will focus on defining and developing preparations for the next evolution of mobile connectivity across the continent.
Supplementing the 5G discussions for premium delegates, are tracks covering 5G enabling technologies – MEC, NFV, SDN, Network Slicing – that will lead to a proliferation of next generation services such as AR/VR, AI and VOLTE.
As the Fourth Industrial Revolution continues apace, bringing with it greater connectivity and subsequent products and services, the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes a tangible gamechanger for cities, enterprises (and end users). Consequently, AfricaCom 2018 will concentrate many Headliner discussions and a 3-day IoT World Africa conference track around how this can be achieved. Delegates can unlock the African IoT opportunity with sessions focused on making a business case for IoT; why – and how – IoT will bridge the “digital divide” in Africa and the transformative impact of IoT on Africa’s social and economic development.
As Africa urbanises with more devices connecting to the IoT, the African smart city arises but, what are the essential ingredients to success? How are ambitions with socio-economic realities aligned and what makes a smart city, smart? Day Two of the Headliners will look at realising the African smart city vision.
For enterprises, the key question is what technologies to use to ensure participation in the digital era; how to separate the hype from the practical – what will really lead to innovation and business success and how to stimulate a corporate culture that supports innovation and entrepreneurship. Day Two of the Headliners will end with a spirited panel discussion on how to develop a winning ICT strategy.
The critical role of policymakers and regulators in determining how Africa and Africans will connect to strengthen their economies, also forms part of this year’s Headliner agenda. Enabling an African Information-based society will be critical to the continent’s ability to advance and transact – a case study, presented by Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, will shed light on how this can be achieved.
Underpinning all development and future trade, are financial services, so what’s next for African Fintech? Headliners will address the opportunities that exist in the midst of this financial services paradigm shift. For premium delegates, Fintech Africa will discuss, among other things, mobile money interoperability with leading MNOs and financial institutions, as well as blockchain deployment and cryptocurrency opportunities in Africa. Top quality fintech start-ups will also pitch their game-changing solutions.
Rounding out the Headliner discussions at AfricaCom 2018, is a panel discussion that addresses the shift in how broadcasting models are developing in line with digital transformation across Africa. This content complements the newly launched Africa Video Forum, the evolution of TV Connect Africa.
The speaker line-up in 2018 includes:
- Rob Shuter, group president and CEO, MTN
- Olabiyi Durojaiye, chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission
- Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications, Republic of Ghana
- Jean Philbert Nsengimana, special advisor, Smart Africa, former Mmnister, Ministry of Information Technology and Communication, Government of Rwanda
- Mohamed Dabbour, CEO, Africa, Millicom
- Babak Fouladi, group chief Technology & Information Systems officer, MTN
- Siyabonga Mahlangu, group executive: Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations, Telkom
- Nicholas Naidu, managing executive: Technology Strategy, Architecture & Innovation, Vodacom
- Francis Mumbi, Innovation lead, Stanbic Bank
- Joseph Hundah, group president and CEO, Econet Media
- Jason Lobel, group head of Video, MTN
- Botlenyana Mokhele, councillor, ICASA
- Catherine Wanjiku Njari, senior manager, TV & Media Content, Safaricom
- John Momoh (OON), CEO, Channels Media Group and chairman, BON
AfricaCom 2018 will bring together 14 000 attendees, 450 speakers and 400 exhibitors showcasing technologies and solutions covering everything from 5G, AI, IoT, Fintech, Blockchain and beyond, with a host of new content and exciting developments.