African tech conferences in 2020 you can’t afford to miss

Here is a selection of the biggest and best technology events scheduled for 2020 in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Africa may have lagged behind in early adoption of the internet, but as the second decade of the 21st century closes, private enterprises and public administrations on the continent are starting to adopt emerging technology in a range of areas including fintech, internet of things, artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Judging from the number of African technology conferences that are scheduled for 2020, it's safe to say that technology leaders on the continent have a wealth of opportunities to share and learn strategies for digital transformation across all sectors of the economy.

As more and more global firms see opportunity to invest in technology for their African businesses, the number of local startups building unique digital solutions for the continent continues to grow. Here are a few of the biggest, and most interesting, technology conferences and exhibitions scheduled for sub-Saharan Africa in 2020.

Africa Tech Summit

Kigali, Rwanda

4 - 6 February, 2020

Rwanda has been a shining light in the African tech space for a number of years now, and their tech community is pulling out all the stops to showcase the unlimited potential of technology in Africa. The three-day summit is an opportunity for African and international business leaders to connect and shape business opportunities for the future.

The summit will be divided into three broad categories:

  • The Future Summit
  • The Money and Blockchain Summit
  • The Africa Startup Summit

Each of these mini-summits will explore the latest trends while connecting more than 600 digital leaders, tech corporates, MNO's, banks, investors, regulators, startups, creatives, media and leading tech ventures from across Africa.

Speakers include the likes of Kojo Boakye from Facebook, IFC's Wale Ayeni, Tokunbok Ishmael from Alithiea Capital and many more prominent figures from the African tech community.

Women In Tech Africa 2020

Cape Town, South Africa.

18 - 19 March, 2020

The last few years have seen women standing up and making a claim to leadership in all sectors of the economy, and technology is no exception. Exceptional women leaders, founders and VC's are making profound improvements in the industry and Africa is seeking to ride that wave with the Women in Tech Africa 2020 conference.

Some of the keynote speakers include Lilian Barnard, the managing director of Microsoft South Africa, and Mimi Omokri, the Head of Business at Uber.

Some of the topics that will be under a microscope include:

  • The Roadmap to a Digital Africa
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Defining the Tone of your Company's Culture
  • Upskilling for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how you can level up for leadership
  • Next Generation Work and Talent

CMS Africa, Summit Accra

Accra, Ghana

26 - 27 March, 2020

This premier African tech event takes place every year in a different African city, and 2020 sees it landing in Accra, Ghana. Now into its seventh year, CMS Africa Summit offers not just uniquely for web and mobile design experts but also brings together industry leaders, startups, investors, academics, diplomats, and government officials.

Speakers like Kenyan digital strategist Elsie Birech, Daniel Dubois from Open Source Matters and German creative Elisa Fontyn are already on the schedule, while applications to speak at the event are still open.

The 2019 event saw 26 speakers, 5 universities and 43 companies represented and the 2020 event promises significant growth as West Africa embraces the digital revolution. 

Africa Tech Week

Cape Town, South Africa

11 - 15 May 2020

The beautiful city of Cape Town seems to be a favourite destination for continental tech gatherings and the second week of May sees arguably one of the most important of these annual gatherings. Africa Tech Week seeks to "promote digital transformation by connecting government, corporates and fresh talent in the tech industry."

Last year was the inaugural gathering of Africa Tech Week, hosted by Topco Media, and 2020 will seek to build on the connections that were forged through the conference, the exhibitions and the African technology awards that were presented.  With over 60 world-class speakers and more than 350 delegates, this is a chance to gather vital information. One of the stated aims of Africa Tech Week is to ‘educate South Africa and other African countries on the challenges and opportunities to be gained by their drafting appropriate plans and policies for the 4th Industrial revolution.'

Some of the economic sectors represented will include:

  •     Building construction
  •     Transport
  •     Engineering
  •     Automotive
  •     Maritime
  •     Agriculture
  •     Security

AfricaCom 2020

Cape Town, South Africa

10 - 12 November

If you have to pick one international tech event to go to in sub-Saharan Africa this year, this is the one. This event brings together 15,000 attendees, 450 speakers and 500 exhibitors. As the conference organizers put it, this is the place to network, learn and get deals done.

The conference has a lineup of speakers from around Africa, from the worlds of government, private enterprise, and technology vendors, including for example MTN CEO Rob Shuter, communications ministers from Ghana and South Africa, and Grindrod Bank CTO Unathi Mtya.

A few of the hot conference sessions are included in entire tracks devoted to IoTartificial intelligence, FinTech, and a Connecting Africa summit devoted to infrastructure development.

The year ahead

The conferences listed above are just a selection of the top gatherings during a crowded year for African technology.

A simple Google search reveals many more events which are scheduled for the year as the community of developers, investors and business leaders continues to expand and connect. As the agendas for conferences slated for the latter half of the year fill out, we will be updating our curated list of top events, so check back in!

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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