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The Connecting Africa panel helps launch AfricaCom in Johannesburg

By the Com Series staff writers

AfricaCom is a technology and telecommunications event which has been a fixture of the African digital landscape for the past 19 years. In that time, it has risen to become a powerhouse in the African tech and ICT sectors.

This year, AfricaCom seeks to elevate itself to become a powerful catalyst for digital transformation, economic development and social empowerment, which reaches far beyond the event itself.

To this end, KNect 365 TMT (an Informa business) - organisers of the annual AfricaCom event - officially launched the bigger, bettter bolder 2016 event in Rosebank, Johannesburg on Thursday 14th July. The event saw some of AfricaCom’s most important community members come together to discuss digital connectivity across the continent, including a panel discussion themed: “Connecting Africa: Economic development and social empowerment through digital connectivity”.

The AfricaCom Launch panel 

The panel included: Luke McKend (MD at Google SA), Riaan Graham (Director of Sub-Saharan Africa at Ruckus Wireless) and Bora Varliyagci (Head of African Digital Infrastructure at Mott MacDonald), and was facilitated by Duncan McLeod, editor of TechCentral. The panel discussed some of the challenges hindering connectivity and the opportunities that are available to improve connectivity and access across the continent.

The major message which came through strongly during this discussion, was that the ICT sector is critical for the growth of the African economy and it’s going to require collective efforts from both governments and the private sector to improve connectivity and ensure cost effective, quality connectivity for all.

The panelists agreed that there needs to be better co-ordination, collaboration, a focus on education and skills development and a more holistic approach from all industry players, should we wish to see positive change. In addition, connectivity for all is a massive challenge which can’t be achieved in silo, with government needing to be more proactive and forward-thinking in their approach from a policy to an infrastructure perspective, should Africa wish to see rapid growth.

Tom Cuthell (Portfolio Director -  Com Series, KNect365) presenting the new AfricaCom for 2016

AfricaCom 2016 will see a new event format, which will take place from 14–18 November 2016, at the Cape Town International Conference Centre.

Jake McNulty, Head of Marketing at KNect 365 TMT, said: “We are delighted to be in Johannesburg to officially launch AfricaCom for 2016, which is a first in the 19 year history of the event. This year, we have revolutionised AfricaCom into a week-long festival of activities, re-branded the entire event, as well as our company from Informa Telecoms & Media to KNect 365 TMT.

The conference and exhibition will still take place over 3 days (15-17 November), but with our expanded networking features, the event will span the entire week. We are evolving the event, bringing the entire digital ecosystem together and making it into a 365, year-round community.

Ronell Swartbooi of DUO Communications + Marketing

This is why we are delighted to be here in Johannesburg to launch the event for 2016 and meet our most valuable community members. Some of the new features for 2016 include: LeadersIn Africa Headliners (visionary keynotes at the end of each day), the Afest (a music festival at the Shimmy Beach Club), Astars (a leaders under 30 programme), the Takeover (a bar crawl), Telco Big Data, IoT and Smart Cities, Mobile Finance and Commerce conference streams, as well as a whole host of VIP experiences.

AfricaCom is also welcoming back all of the favourite aspects of the event, for example the AHUB - powered by Ericsson, LTE Africa, Digital Entertainment and TV Connect, to name just a few.“

AfricaCom will be taking place in November at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, South Africa.
Festival: 14-18 November 2016
Exhibition: 15-17 November 2016

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