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Empowering Africa through technology: Insights from Sentech Africa Tech Week 2024

Empowering Africa through technology: Insights from Sentech Africa Tech Week 2024

The recently concluded Sentech Africa Tech Week Conference 2024 brought together thought leaders, policymakers, and industry experts to explore the transformative power of technology in driving economic growth, fostering digital inclusion, and advancing financial services across the African continent. With a series of insightful panel discussions and engaging talks, the event illuminated key strategies and collaborations aimed at unlocking Africa's innovation potential and promoting inclusive development.

Empowering Africa through technology: Insights from Sentech Africa Tech Week 2024

"Digital skills are the currency of the future, and it is imperative that we equip our citizens with the necessary skills to thrive in the digital economy."

  • Mondli Gungubele, minister of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, delivered a compelling address on "The 2024 Innovation Imperative: How Government is Leveraging AI & New Tech for Economic Growth." Minister Gungubele underscored the critical importance of digital skills in navigating the evolving economic landscape, as highlighted in the presidential commission's Fourth Industrial Revolution report. He emphasised the role of government initiatives and partnerships in fostering digital literacy, enhancing broadband infrastructure, and leveraging AI to drive economic empowerment.

    Empowering Africa through technology: Insights from Sentech Africa Tech Week 2024

    "By leveraging satellite technology and partnerships, we are making progress in connecting underserved areas and empowering communities through digital access." - Mmapula Kgari, acting executive Broadband, Sentech

    • The panel discussion on "Broadband: The Backbone of Digital Transformation" shed light on the pivotal role of broadband connectivity in driving digital inclusion and societal transformation. Panellists highlighted initiatives such as the SA Connect project and discussed strategies for bridging the digital divide, particularly in rural and underserved areas. Insights from industry leaders emphasised the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors to enhance broadband accessibility and drive socio-economic development.
    • Joseph Ndaba, 4IR commissioner at the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and CEO of MDIHub, noted that "We need to ensure technologies like 5G benefit all South Africans, focusing on developmental aspects and partnerships for inclusive connectivity.”
    • Peter Mafagana, acting CTO, of Broadband Infraco adds that "The South African broadband market has seen significant growth and investment, with a focus on increasing accessibility and speeds; however, while progress has been made, challenges remain in closing the digital divide, especially in rural and underserved areas."

    Empowering Africa through technology: Insights from Sentech Africa Tech Week 2024

    "Building a compliant platform for accessible and compliant data usage is essential for effective decision-making and customer engagement.” - Steven Tshehla, managed infrastructure business portfolio manager, Sentech

    • In the panel discussion titled "Unlocking Your Data Goldmine: Leveraging Technology to Securely Capitalise on Your Company’s Data," speakers delved into the challenges and opportunities surrounding data management and cybersecurity. Discussions revolved around strategies for improving data quality, leveraging technology to identify trends, and building fortified partnerships. The panel stressed the importance of ethical data practices and cybersecurity measures in harnessing the potential of data to drive business growth and innovation.
    • Jordan Seke, CRM advocate, strategist, and change manager at Wits University, adds, "Implementing a master data management system with automation and standardisation is key to reducing human errors and enhancing data quality."
    • Jessy Severins, group director: AdTech & MarTech at Jumia Group, reminds us that "setting up a customer data platform requires collaboration across legal, compliance, marketing, and customer experience teams to ensure regulatory adherence and data-driven insights. He noted that "ethical considerations and cybersecurity measures are paramount in leveraging customer data effectively while maintaining trust and privacy in the digital landscape."

    Empowering Africa through technology: Insights from Sentech Africa Tech Week 2024

    The Tech Talk titled “Collaborating to Drive Financial Inclusion with Fintech,” delivered by Chipo Mushwana, the executive of Emerging Innovation and Payments at Nedbank, highlighted the transformative role of fintech in democratising access to financial services, empowering marginalised populations, and supporting SMEs. She emphasised the need for strategic collaborations and regulatory alignment to accelerate digital innovation and promote inclusive economic growth. Mushwana noted that "Africa stands at an inflexion point regarding transformation around financial services. Technology presents opportunities that will continue to enhance the livelihoods and economies of this continent. We want to partner to drive economic growth, and we want to partner to drive financial inclusion. There's an immense amount of work that needs to be done, and we are committed to doing that as Nedbank."

    CEO of Topco Media, Ralf Fletcher, concludes, “As the curtains draw on Sentech Africa Tech Week 2024, the resounding message is clear - collaboration, innovation, and inclusivity are the cornerstones of Africa's digital future. From leveraging AI and broadband infrastructure to unlocking the potential of fintech, stakeholders across sectors are committed to driving positive change and fostering an inclusive digital economy.”

    As Africa charts its path towards digital transformation, partnerships and collective action will continue to be instrumental in shaping a brighter, more prosperous future for all.

Topco Media
DYNAMIC BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA Topco Media is one of South Africa's leading business-to-business media houses, producing high profile, relevant conferences and awards. Our conferences include Africa Tech Week, Standard Bank Top Women, Top Empowerment, Future of HR, National Business Awards and Future of Sustainability. We also produce authoritative and informative business and investment publications such as Top 500, Top Empowerment, Nelson Mandela 100 years to name a few.
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