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AfricaCom 2017 adds new technology arena

AfricaCom expects over 13 000 delegates to attend in Cape Town in November.

AfricaCom expects over 13 000 delegates to attend in Cape Town in November.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, AfricaCom is this year introducing a technology arena. The exhibition hall will showcase tech innovation and Africa's journey towards the fourth industrial revolution.

AfricaCom is billed as the continent's largest technology, media and telecoms event, and will take place in Cape Town from 7 to 9 November. The technology arena will be located in the recently expanded and soon to be opened wing of the Cape Town International Convention Centre. AfricaCom expects over 13 000 delegates to attend this year.

Incorporated into the technology arena will be an innovation stage, featuring insights and discussions on tech trends, including the Internet of things, smart cities, big data, fintech, blockchain, e-health and artificial intelligence. The new arena will also showcase wearable tech, drones, augmented and virtual reality gadgets, as well as games and applications.

"[AfricaCom] has evolved over the years from being a purely telecommunications-based event, to one where technology commands the stage. As it underpins everything, it seemed only fitting that we create an exhibit in which to centrally house some of the most exciting tech and ideas that will impact on Africa's digital advancement," said Tom Cuthell, portfolio director at KNect365.

The tech arena will be home to over 100 technology-focused exhibitors, including AfricaCom 20/20. This new show floor feature is dedicated to accelerating Africa's digital transformation and will act as the base for all 20th anniversary celebrations.

The arena will provide a showcase for new digital solutions presented by AfricaCom's top 20 innovators, and conference content built around the theme ‘providing clarity of vision on future tech trends'. Also on display will be demo pods that enable delegates to interact with next-generation technologies, to help shape their own thoughts and possibilities of what is to come.

Underpinning the show are the questions: What skills are needed to accelerate Africa's digital transformation? What infrastructure, policy, partnerships and collaborations are required to turn Africa into a global digital giant? What will the next 20 years of digital transformation in Africa look like and how will this transformation impact different vertical markets in manufacturing, utilities, agriculture, education, government, banking and beyond?

Providing some of the answers to these questions and shining a light on potential solutions is this year's AHUB, which will be located in the technology arena.

The AHUB will showcase talent and facilitate ICT partnerships, and again unleash the power of the start-up ecosystem across Africa. New in 2017, is a programme that has been designed to highlight the critical role of entrepreneurship in fuelling the continent's digital economy. This will feature briefings for both start-us and investors, as well as live pitch sessions.

There will also be an AHUB Start-up Academy, with skills workshops and sector snapshots covering fintech, e-health, agritech, clean energy and ICT4D. A series of panel discussions will help entrepreneurs understand investor mentalities and how to develop a disruptive mind-set.

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