Morocco summit to discuss Africa's digital development

Huawei Managing Director Michael Liu, NCBA Group managing Director John Gachora and Huawei President of Southern Africa Region Jovan Liao Yong at the Dive into Digital Eastern Africa Banking, financial services and insurance Summit. [David Gichuru, Standard]

African ministers, government and private sector leaders will converge in Marrakech, Morocco this month as the tech world reorganises itself in the wake of the global digital upheaval.

The summit will spearhead a conference programme at the inaugural Gitex Africa 2023, which takes place from May 31 to June 2, and which unifies policy makers, government heads, investors and academics to explore how technology and connectivity are redrawing the boundaries of sustainable development.

"Against the biggest market correction in recent years, Africa continues to march onwards to empower and unify a continent on the cusp of transformative ICT growth, with the Gitex Africa Digital Summit the new focal point steering a pursuit of a unified digital vision," the organisers, Gitex, said.

Avenues for growth

Lacina Kone, the director general of Smart Africa, the Pan-African organisation driving the continent's digital transformation agenda, says digital technologies offer new avenues for economic growth in Africa by accelerating job creation and talent development, supporting access to public services and increasing productivity and innovation.

"The lack of connectivity in remote and rural regions along with insufficient data protection and high cost of African connectivity have brought new challenges to businesses, governments, and people," said Kone.

"Intra-governmental cooperation is the key enabler of digital services adoption and acceleration, while mitigating these associated challenges across the African continent."

The summit comes amid significant African digital growth, with statistics showing the continent has the world's fastest-growing internet population, up by 20 per cent in just one year.

Africa's digital economy has become one of the main drivers of continental progress, coupled with strong talent development and a spike in public private sector investments.

Over 900 exhibitors and delegations from various countries are expected to attend the summit for three days of public-private sector collaborations.

More than 250 hosted investors from 34 countries with $200 billion worth of assets under management will also seek African tech scale-up co-investment opportunities.

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