Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Digital Inclusion

Becoming the Global Leader We Need Africa to Be – AfricaCom Interview With Rapelang Rabana

Article Image
"I think there is still a big question around how we realize the digital economy for a range of SMEs around the continent."

This was just one of many discussion points and questions tackled at the 2017 launch of AfricaCom in Johannesburg, recently.

AfricaCom was joined by a host of prominent thought-leaders across the African technology and telecom spaces for the launch commemorating AfricaCom's 20th year.

Amongst the attendees was computer scientist and entrepreneur Rapelang Rabana, who caught up with us following the launch's panel discussion to talk about the rate of digital economy growth. "We are not growing fast enough and there isn't enough scale, which means our economies aren't growing fast enough," she said.

Rapelang Rabana
Rapelang Rabana

Speaking about how we can kick-start the African digital economy, Rapelang believes it lies with bridging the divide between tech innovation on the continent and applying or executing it to overcome social and economic challenges:

"It's really up to the people who are more involved in the tech to translate and explain that utility a lot more clearly -- we are making a lot of assumptions that everyone understands and that is far from the reality." Take a look at the full interview below where Rabana discusses "Rekindle Learning," AfricaCom and the art of "bringing the digital stakeholders to the table":

Rapelang Rabana at AfricaCom 2017
Hear more from Rapelang Rabana at the 20th anniversary of AfricaCom, taking place between November 7–9, 2017, in Cape Town, South Africa.

AfricaCom is the largest technology and telecommunications event in Africa -- the place to shape Africa's digital future and get deals done. Find out more about AfricaCom here and the 3 day, 16 track agenda here. Get your free AfricaCom visitor ticket and gain access to 100s of expert speaker and two large-scale exhibitions here. Network, learn and innovate with the full AfricaCom delegate experience, including the Visions for Africa Keynotes and AFEST music festival here.

Be part of the African tech and telco conversation here:





— Amy Turner, Digital Content Marketer, KNect365

Innovation hub


Connecting Africa Podcast: Ep. 8 – Edtech for the future of work

This week we are joined by Eyitayo Ogunmola, CEO of Utiva, which is a startup offering technology skills training to prepare young people for the the future of work.


Hot startup of the month: Malawi's Converged Technology Networks

Startup Converged Technology Networks is focused on addressing the unmet demand for residential broadband Internet access in Malawi.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: October 2021

By Omdia Analysts

Across the Middle East and Africa, regulators are beginning to facilitate spectrum allocation to operators in the region for the deployment of new and innovative technology.


Research Bites: Why Africans stop using mobile apps

By Chinedu Wilfred Okonkwo, Magda Huisman and Estelle Taylor

This article – in collaboration with the African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development – explores the reasons behind why Africans stop using certain mobile apps.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

AfricaCom perspectives


Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.


Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.


How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

Meeting SME’s where they are - Building inclusive ecosystems for Africa’s small business owners

Micro and small businesses have been, and still are, the spine and lifeblood of the African economy, making up 90% of businesses on the continent.

Many of these businesses have still been operating in traditional ways and serving non-digital customers. With Covid-19 expediting the digital transformation process, businesses - big and small - have been forced to adapt to operate successfully in a more digital-first environment.

To ensure that the digitalization of Africa’s market doesn’t leave micro and small businesses behind, digital solutions must be inclusive and create business-ready environments. But how can we ensure that African SMEs become digitally enabled?

In this webinar we will share from our own experience on how to create such an environment, and the actions we took in vcita to get there, including:

  • Closing the digital literacy gap through tech inclusion 
  • Making a positive impact on local communities
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world

Register Here >>

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up