Speakers at the GITEX Africa Morocco emphasized, on the opening day, the need to leverage Africa’s high potential in its massive numbers of young people, collaborations and creation of a robust digital infrastructure that will encourage investment and support startups.
This will, in turn, boost the continent’s economic health, with a lot of potential remaining untapped amid a global digital revolution.
GITEX Africa, the inaugural GITEX Global event in the continent, officially kicked off on Wednesday, May 31, with over 900 companies setting up to exhibit in the tech and startup event that has attracted well over 80 countries.
Aziz Akhannouch, the Moroccan Head of Government, inaugurated the debut edition as influential stakeholders from the entire global and African tech ecosystem converged for the first time “to empower bold digital transformation missions in the world’s rising innovation economy,” GITEX said.
In the three-day event in Marrakech, the main topics to be explored are cybersecurity, digital cities, Fintech, connectivity and 5G, and startups and investment.
“In light of the economic turmoil and profound transformations the world is witnessing today, digital technology has become an essential and unprecedented lever for economic development both internationally, and in the African continent in particular,” said Mr Akhannouch.
By the time the event is over, 900 exhibitors and start-ups, 250 leading investors, 250 conference speakers, and 30 ministerial delegations, alongside tens of thousands of attendees from 120 countries will have attended.
There are expected more than 100 participating government entities from 80 countries.
“For an ICT market nascent only a decade ago, with opportunities for 1.4 billion people, the African region is now synonymous with leapfrogging the world and boasting one of the highest talent populations of developers and software engineers,” said Trixie Lohmirmand, the CEO of KAOUN International, the organiser of GITEX AFRICA. “ICT in many African cities and countries is already the fastest growing sector, if not the largest.”
GITEX says that the mobilisation in telecoms, internet penetration, e-commerce adoption and tech hubs growth doubled the investment in tech from $800 million to $1.6 billion in one year across Cloud, AI, Cybersecurity, Enterprise, Fintech, Digital Cities, and Telecoms.
Exhibiting companies, mainly drawn from Africa and The Middle East, showcase dedicated innovations in technology, including agrotechnology which is a niche market in many countries.
Another big market exhibitors were keen on is the medical one, with the use of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things to detect and treat pulmonary diseases in Africa, largely unexplored.
Some of Kenya’s exhibitors are Agribora, HelloTractor, Harvesthive, Neural Labs Africa, Opesha Solutions, Duhqa, Fedhatrac, Tawi Digital Health, CIO Africa and Yna Kenya.