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Africa Tech Festival 2022 highlights in pictures

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Africa Tech Festival (ATF) 2022 took place in Cape Town, South Africa, between November 8 and 10, and was attended by over 12,000 people.

The three-day conference and expo welcomed all the key players in Africa's telecoms and technology industry for the 25th edition of Africa Tech Festival (previously known as AfricaCom).

The physical return of ATF, after its two-year enforced hiatus because of COVID-19, saw people from across Africa and beyond attend to watch keynote speeches, panel discussions and workshops, and networking events.

Below are some photo highlights from the event.

Cape Carnival marching band in action at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on November 8, 2022.
Cape Carnival marching band in action at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on November 8, 2022.

Registration was a loud but fun affair, with the Cape Carnival marching band entertaining attendees queuing up to get their badges on Tuesday morning.

Informa Tech director of events, James Williams, officially opens the conference.
Informa Tech director of events, James Williams, officially opens the conference.

James Williams, director of events at Informa Tech officially opened the conference on November 8, 2022.

"During these 25 years, the event has evolved to ensure we remain the continent's largest and most influential tech event and to tell the story of continued growth and frontier technologies, and how African innovation is tackling some of the globe's biggest challenges," he told delegates ahead of the day one keynotes.

"AfricaCom and AfricaTech came together as a festival in 2018 and continue to explore connectivity, infrastructure, and telco evolution. With this evolution to a festival, we've also worked this year, more than any other, to integrate some of the stories around culture, sport, music, and entertainment that make the continent such a diverse and unique place to work," Williams added.

Ericsson Senior VP and Middle East and Africa President Fadi Pharaon gives the keynote on day one of ATF titled: 'Limitless connectivity, limitless possibilities.'
Ericsson Senior VP and Middle East and Africa President Fadi Pharaon gives the keynote on day one of ATF titled: "Limitless connectivity, limitless possibilities."

Ericsson Senior VP and Middle East and Africa President Fadi Pharaon shared mobility trends that Ericsson has observed, including the rapid uptake of 4G across the continent, with sub-Saharan Africa reporting a 26% increase in 4G subscriptions in 2021.

"Another enabler which will accelerate 4G adoption, are regulatory initiatives to make more spectrum available for key markets. Now we all know that this is the foundation of the telecoms industry," he added.

Convergence Partners founder and chairman, Andile Ngcaba, speaks during a keynote panel as Balancing Act CEO Russell Southwood, MainOne CEO Funke Opeke, and Nic Rudnick, group deputy executive chairperson of Liquid Intelligent Technologies, look on.
Convergence Partners founder and chairman, Andile Ngcaba, speaks during a keynote panel as Balancing Act CEO Russell Southwood, MainOne CEO Funke Opeke, and Nic Rudnick, group deputy executive chairperson of Liquid Intelligent Technologies, look on.

Convergence Partners founder and chairman, Andile Ngcaba, told the audience that African governments need to be enablers for digital transformation on the continent and not develop regulations that hinder transformation.

"We need to remove the word 'regulation' in what we do – either regulators close down or call themselves something else," he said.

A panel discussion as part of the Connecting Africa's Next Billion track.
A panel discussion as part of the Connecting Africa's Next Billion track.

Connecting Africa Associate Editor Matshepo Sehloho moderated a panel discussion titled: "Networks of the future – new models to connect Africa's underserved" as part of the Connecting Africa's Next Billion track at the event.

The panel included: Mohammed Aliyu, chief fibreCo officer at MTN Global Connect; Phila Dube, chief commercial officer at Openserve; Samuel Kwabena Nkrumah, head of transmission and transport at AirtelTigo Ghana; and Yonas Maru, MD of BCS Group.

The Spacecom booth at the AFT expo.
The Spacecom booth at the AFT expo.

Thousands of attendees came through the expo areas in both AfricaCom and AfricaTech where companies ranging from global Internet and telco giants to startups showcased next-gen tech.

GirlHYPE CEO Baratang Miya speaks during a panel discussion on the Africa Tech Center Stage.
GirlHYPE CEO Baratang Miya speaks during a panel discussion on the Africa Tech Center Stage.

Some of Africa's top female tech leaders shared stories of the challenges they faced breaking the glass ceiling in a panel discussion titled: "Women challenging male domination in African tech."

The panel was moderated by Connecting Africa Editor Paula Gilbert and included: Nollie Maoto, chief data and analytics officer at FNB South Africa; Baratang Miya, CEO of GirlHYPE; Esther Munyi, chief data and analytics officer at Sasfin Bank; and Varsha Sewlal, executive legal and deputy information officer at the Railway Safety Regulator.

Nic Rudnick, group deputy executive chairperson of Liquid Intelligent Technologies, gives the keynote presentation on day two of ATF.
Nic Rudnick, group deputy executive chairperson of Liquid Intelligent Technologies, gives the keynote presentation on day two of ATF.

Nic Rudnick, group deputy executive chairperson of Liquid Intelligent Technologies told attendees that for Africa to truly become a creator of fourth industrial revolution (4IR) technology and not just a consumer, the continent needs affordable, uncapped fixed broadband.

"To expect people to participate in the fourth industrial revolution when you're requiring them to spend 20% or more of their income in order to access data and to access the services is the problem that we as an industry need to overcome," he said.

Evina CEO David Lotfi speaks at ATF on November 9, 2022.
Evina CEO David Lotfi speaks at ATF on November 9, 2022.

Evina CEO David Lotfi gave an impassioned speech saying that the mobile payment business in Africa is set to pass the US$12 billion mark by 2026.

"Its market performances are four times higher than the rest of the banking world, as credit cards are being ditched for the mobile phone, which is why mobile payment is the biggest opportunity for telcos by far," said Lotfi.

However, he cautioned that fraud is a huge threat to the growth of this market in Africa because when fraud occurs around 20% of people affected will no longer use that service, with the ripple effect through to their friends and family having the potential to destroy the future of mobile money in Africa.

Ngasuma Kanyeka, head of communications at UNICEF, and Google MD for sub-Saharan Africa, Nitin Gajria, during a fireside chat at ATF.
Ngasuma Kanyeka, head of communications at UNICEF, and Google MD for sub-Saharan Africa, Nitin Gajria, during a fireside chat at ATF.

Nitin Gajria, Google MD for sub-Saharan Africa, took some quick-fire questions from the audience about what the Equiano subsea cable means for connectivity in Africa.

Womenovate founder, Motunrayo Opayinka, accepts the Startup of the Year award at the Africa Tech Festival Awards.
Womenovate founder, Motunrayo Opayinka, accepts the Startup of the Year award at the Africa Tech Festival Awards.

The Africa Tech Festival Awards crowned 11 winners for their innovation, initiative and leadership.

The Startup of the Year award went to Womenovate – a female-focused online learning platform, based in Nigeria, offering women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Mathematics) access to resources, training courses and jobs from world-class universities and companies.

The coveted CXO of the Year award went to Samuel Chiwanda from Click Mobile Malawi and the Female Innovator of the Year winner was Oladiwura Oladepo, co-founder of Tech4Dev.

Orange Middle East and Africa CEO Jerome Henique gives a presentation during the ATF keynotes on November 10, 2022.
Orange Middle East and Africa CEO Jérôme Hénique gives a presentation during the ATF keynotes on November 10, 2022.

Orange Middle East and Africa CEO Jérôme Hénique gave the keynote presentation on day three of the event, just ahead of the French telco announcing its first 5G rollout in Africa with a launch in Botswana and plans to roll 5G out in another six countries in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region during 2023.

Connecting Africa Editor Paula Gilbert moderates one of the final panels on the keynote stage on November 10, 2022.
Connecting Africa Editor Paula Gilbert moderates one of the final panels on the keynote stage on November 10, 2022.

Digital skills were in the spotlight on the final day of ATF. Connecting Africa Editor Paula Gilbert moderated a keynote panel titled: "Digital skills Africa – why an educated youth is key to unlocking 4IR."

Joining her on the panel were Fiona Tabraham, CEO of CapaCiTi; Chris Fabian, CEO of Giga; and Anita van Vuuren, chief education specialist at the Western Cape Government, who all shared insights about the opportunities a connected youth could embrace and how to tackle the barriers holding them back from digital inclusion.

An ATF attendee experiences virtual reality (VR) tech in the expo area.
An ATF attendee experiences virtual reality (VR) tech in the expo area.

Africa Tech Festival will return to Cape Town next year between November 14 to 16, 2023.

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*Top image is of the Africa Tech Festival logo being projected onto the wall in the keynote auditorium at the event in Cape Town. (Source: Africa Tech Festival)

*All images courtesy of Africa Tech Festival.

— The Staff, Connecting Africa

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