The inaugural event of GITEX AFRICA 2023, which concludes on Friday, is being held in Marrakech, Morocco. It is the biggest event on the continent gathering investors, startups and innovators seeking to advance digital transformation in Africa and showcasing the newest in all tech-based solutions.
Africa a global leader in digital transformation
The participants also asserted Africa’s rising status as a global leader in digital transformation. Tech leaders from across the continent and the world gathered to collaborate and pledge their commitments to accelerating cross-continent investment opportunities.
Omar Sultan Al Olama, the UAE’s minister of state for artificial intelligence, said that the global tech market is expected to jump to $712 billion by 2030, up from $115 billion. This increase provides a golden chance for Africa with its large young population to accelerate the process of digital transformation for the benefit of the continent’s economies and people.
Speaking to Ahram Online, Trixie Lohmirman, the CEO of GITEX Africa organiser UAE-based KAOUN, said that creating connections and bringing people together is crucial for the continent to accelerate digital transformation for the sake of putting the continent on the world’s digital map.
Private sector support a must
“For too long, the African tech revolution has been little known, under rated and under stated. GITEX Africa represents a platform for the continent’s countries to showcase their innovations, as well as connecting with investors and venture capital (VC) angels to leverage the finances they need to grow,” Lohmirmand told Ahram Online.
“Private sector and governments have to work hand in hand to push forward the digital transition process, and to support the small and medium-sized enterprises in this regard,” she added.
Speaking to Ahram Online, Senior Vice-President for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, Turkey and Africa (CEEMETA) at Dell Technologies Mohammed Amin said that the private sector plays a critical role in supporting African governments’ digital push.
“Dell Technologies plays a significant role in supporting African governments, including Egypt, in their digital transformation efforts. We provide a comprehensive range of products and services that enable governments to modernize their operations and deliver efficient public services,” Amin explained.
He also noted that they have bolstered digital inclusion for underrepresented communities by collaborating with stakeholders such as schools, nonprofits and private organizations.
“We are also committed to sustainability by implementing initiatives such as using recycled materials and reducing energy consumption.”
Creating Africa’s own Silicon Valley
Babajide Sanwo-olu, executive governor of the Lagos state in Nigeria, explained how Africa is on the fast-track to become the next Silicon Valley, noting that around 30 percent of investment in Africa is dedicated to the digital economy. He also affirmed the necessity of investing in African youth, who make up over 60 percent of the continent’s population.
Sanwo-olu said Lagos is already home to some of Africa’s largest data centres, while the state’s Start-Up Act 2022 and Knowledge, Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (KITE) Project in the Yaba suburb are propelling Lagos and Nigeria into a hub of global innovation.
He added that Yaba Start-Up policy will elevate Lagos as a city ready to become a global player.
“In a few years, not only will Africa be supplying the bulk of professionals required in the global IT industry, but it will also be creating a lot of jobs. In ten years, Africa will become the place where major global companies such as Microsoft and Meta will come to recruit intelligent profiles trained in the technical fields in which Africa abounds,” Sanwo-olu claimed.
Promoting financial inclusion through flourishing fintech
According to data displayed during GITEX Africa’s Fintech Summit, held on the sidelines of the event, Africa’s fintech sector is anticipated to reach $65 billion in revenues by 2030, growing 13 times over, the world’s fastest rate, over the incoming seven years.
The participants stressed that this presents a unique opportunity for the continent to leapfrog outdated stages of technological development and move straight to more advanced solutions.
Aalya Ghouli, CEO of DIGIFI and DIGISERV at BNP Paribas, said that GITEX Africa is a unique opportunity to bring together the African ecosystem around a common goal of accelerating digitalisation in Africa and position the continent as a key global player in the development of technological innovation.
“The number of participants and their backgrounds prove the current effervescence of the continent and its willingness of its states to position digital at the heart of their development strategy. GITEX Africa plays a major role to support this dynamic. BNP Paribas has been promoting for years now the financial inclusion and the digitalisation of financial services in Morocco and other African territories. It is natural to support such as a forum and initiative,” Ghouli noted.
African fintech rising
Khalid Elgibaly, president of the Middle East and North Africa Division at Mastercard, said that Fintech enterprises have emerged as powerful enablers of financial services for previously underserved populations, overcoming traditional barriers such as limited access to banking infrastructure.
“By promoting collaboration and knowledge sharing among stakeholders, GITEX Africa unlocks new opportunities and drives the digital transformation necessary to address the continent’s unique challenges while unlocking its vast potential,” he added.
Supernova Challenge battlers take centre-stage for start-up supremacy
GITEX Africa, which is being held under the umbrella of GITEX Global, is held under the Patronage of King of Morocco Mohammed VI, and hosted by the Digital Development Agency (ADD), under the authority of the Moroccan Ministry of Digital Transition and Administration Reform.
The hyper connector is organised by KAOUN International, the overseas events organising company of Dubai World Trade Centre, which organises GITEX Global in Dubai, UAE, the world’s largest tech and start-up show, rated by tech executives as the world’s best global tech event.
With more than 100 participating government entities from 80 countries, GITEX Africa 2023 play a role as the catalyst of multiple investment pledges and pubic private partnership announcements spearheading the acceleration of Africa’s digital transformation initiatives.
Digital transition in face of ongoing global challenge
“In light of the economic turmoil and profound transformations the world is witnessing today, digital technology has become an essential and unprecedented lever for economic development, both internationally and in the African continent in particular,” said the Head of Moroccan Government Aziz Akhannouch.
“Africa has increasingly worked to consolidate its position as a dynamic environment that supports innovation, and in this regard, GITEX Africa is an occasion to highlight the promising potential of the African continent and its accelerated efforts in developing talents and skills in the fields of technology and innovation,” he added.