Who knows whether it’s due to the Springboks and #BetterTogether, or President Ramaphosa’s profoundly positive ‘thuma mina’ (‘send me’) call, but the common thread throughout AfricaCom’s keynote sessions was the power of collaboration.
Over 14 000 delegates, 500 exhibitors and 450 speakers later, it’s clear that AfricaCom 2019 that took place in Cape Town last week kicked-off a new sense of shared optimism about the future of mobile technology on the African continent.
“After years of talk about potential, there’s a real sense in the mobile industry that Africa is now,” said Devon Meerholz, chief creative and operations officer at IMIMobile SA. “Coupled with this realisation is the understanding that collaboration is the only way to explore opportunity in Africa,” he added.
AfricaCom is annually the best place to meet the most influential innovators driving Africa’s digital transformation. From the Fourth Industrial Revolution to 5G, this technology and telecoms event enables Africa’s ICT industry players to showcase and explore disruptive technologies, connectivity infrastructure, digital services and ICT strategy, all within a highly-relevant African context.
The above notwithstanding, the overriding theme of AfricaCom 2019 was one of collaboration.
This was abundantly evident in three primary ways, according to Meerholz:
The search for partners: “The sense we got was of an urgent search by both African and overseas ICT firms for the right local partner for a particular market. Networking really seemed to take on a new urgency this year,” Meerholz commented. The global socioeconomic situation has clearly put Africa’s risk/reward ratio in perspective. Africa’s looking good, and its about time.
The quest for case studies: A longtime ICT industry staple, the humble case study is proving especially valuable as foreign and pan-African players seek reliable information on how to do things properly in new markets. “Quality literature was clearly in demand at AfricaCom 2019 as many delegates seemed to be in search of more detailed follow-up information after listening to presentations,” said Meerholz.
Offering the world’s best: It became obvious last week that Africa was no longer an agreed upon dumping ground for the world’s second-rate infrastructure, handsets and so on. “Only state-of-the-art featured at AfricaCom 2019 and there was a willingness to explore ways to offer the very best to the one billion human beings who call our continent home,” Meerholz said.