With the rapid growth in Mozambique’s economy, there is an urgent need to invest in ICT systems and skills that will empower the country’s managers to maximise the positive returns of these new opportunities for enterprises and the nation. This is the challenge that the Southern Africa ICT Summit, being held in Maputo over 5 and 6 December, will be posing for the over 500 ICT professionals and managers that will be attending the intensive two-day knowledge-sharing event.
The high-level ICT Summit is sponsored by major service providers operating in Mozambique, including MCel, Business Connexion, Dataserv, TBFiles, Servisis, TVCabo, Telvisa and Real Life (a major systems integrator from Portugal that has recently entered the Mozambican market).
Over 30 local and international experts will be making presentations, participating in panel discussions and delivering workshops. The Summit, now in its fifth year, is held under the auspices of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the recently appointed new Minister, Hon Luis Augusto Pelembe, will make the opening address.
Mark Simpson, CEO of Seacom, will make a showcase presentation on leveraging the country’s dramatically increased international bandwidth. Other speakers will also be challenging Mozambique telecommunication operators to adopt progressive network rollout strategies, including Kai Wulff, Access Field Development Director, who will talk on sharing infrastructure. Bill Hearmon, Chairman of the African Broadband Forum, will speak on “Creative strategies for broadband deployment and optimisation”.
An exciting outcome of the Summit will be the launch of ICT Mozambique, the country’s first industry body for the ICT sector, which will have at its core objective representation of the interests of the industry and promoting ICT development in the country. Adrian Schofield, Vice-chairman of the African ICT Alliance, will be joining Hemann Woithe, interim chairman of ICT Mozambique, to speak in the opening session on the importance of professional development and industry co-operation.Another highlight of the Summit will be the launch of the Internet Solutions Incubator Initiative as a practical project to mentor start-ups providing ICT services and developing business applications in order to kick-start indigenous ICT services.
Innovation and incubation will also be the focus of a session on the second day, kicked off by a showcase presentation by Carlos Oliveira, MD of Leadership Consulting in Portugal, who will speak on “Challenges for ICT entrepreneurship in Africa – Desafios para o empreendedorismo Africano nas tic”. This will be followed by a review of the Maputo Living Lab and a panel discussion including a number of experts working on innovation in the SADC region, including Jamo Macanze of the Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme; Dr Geoffrey Seleka, Director of the Botswana Innovation Hub; Luci Abrahams, Director of the LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand; and Teemu Seppälä of the STIFIMO Programme at the Mozambique Ministry of Science and Technology.
Other ICT industry big-hitters include Gordon Love, Regional Director for Africa at Symantec; Julian Liebenberg, Group GM, Business Connexion, South Africa; and Silvio do Carmo, Business Development Director: Wholesale, Gateway Communications.
Barry Coetzee, CEO of iVeri, will make a leading-edge presentation on “Payment dynamics in emerging markets”, joined in the banking session by Paulo Maculuve, Head of IT, Banco de Moçambique, who will speak on IT systems to promote regional financial integration.
The programme has a special focus on ICT systems and strategies for SMEs, which have such an important role to play in national economic development. Co-ordinated by Tracy Wyman, founder of BusinessWorks, which provides business development support services, this session will cover topics like:
* SME toolkit: Information services for small businesses
* ICT skills development for SMEs
* People, technology and processes: The key for growth and development
* Using ICT to empower SMEs: Needs, advantages and current shortcomings
* Google apps for small businesses
ICT for social development will also be covered, in a session headed “What about the citizens? Questions on digital inclusion in Mozambique”. This will bring together academics and practitioners active in studying and deploying ICT in rural and urban social development projects.
The Summit includes valuable practical training opportunities. Dilip Samji of CA Computer will lead a lunch-time workshop on using computer forensics to recover lost data. On the second day, Marcus Wagenaar, CTO of Text To Change in Uganda, will lead a workshop on the use of SMS services for healthcare.
Attendance for ICT professionals from the SADC region is free of charge, with pre-registration on www.aitecafrica.com.
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