Africa’s Digital Tech Hub Gears Up for the Region’s Largest Tech Event

Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) CEO Barlow Manilal added that he’s proud to be associated with Africa Tech Week as one of the Agency’s key deliverables is converting tech knowledge into economic value for South Africa. TIA is government’s bridge to tech entrepreneurs, offering them high-risk early stage funding in addition to a suite of non-financial services: “We are always looking to exploit tech innovation to improve the quality of life of all South Africans. Africa Tech Week is an opportunity for us to share our services and for us to leverage opportunities.”

SAVCA is proud to be a partner of Africa Tech Week where the focus is not only on preparing Africa for the 4th Industrial Revolution, but also exploring the insurmountable opportunities this wave of change offers. SAVCA and its members are excited to explore the role private equity and venture capital can play in this investment landscape,” says Tanya van Lill, CEO of the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA).

Africa Tech Week is the brainchild of Topco Media, South Africa’s leader in business research, recognition and networking. The three-day event, hosted at Century City, will draw international participation.

According to the leading supporter of high-impact entrepreneurs around the world, Endeavor Insight, the tech sector in greater Cape Town (incorporating Stellenbosch) includes between 450 and 550 entrepreneurial companies working in software development and e-commerce and employs 40 000 people.

However, “access to talent” is the major hurdle faced by start-ups in the city. Africa Tech Week will attract experienced international developers and tech recruiting firms, as well as investors, while raising keen interest in an estimated 300 more tech centres dotted around Africa.

The main programme will stage plug-in events around Century City and at the V&A Waterfront’s Watershed – the home-base of ICT NPO Silicon Cape, Africa Tech Week’s Start-up & Development Partner. Silicon Cape Chairperson Sumarie Roodt: “Africa has a host of thriving tech hubs but they can’t achieve the necessary global traction in isolation. Africa Tech Week strives to bring them together with a unified pan-African purpose in Cape Town, seen by international investors as the gateway into Africa“.

Change is constantly accelerating

Topco Media CEO Ralf Fletcher explained that, for 21 years, Topco’s business- and government-facing conferences, publication and awards have been networking organisations at the forefront of South Africa’s socioeconomic development, increasing their impact and influence. Today, a lot of those organisations are tech companies: “ICT is becoming a key driver of South Africa’s – and Africa’s – growth prospects. At the same time, the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement is fostering cross-border flow and major investors, especially China, are looking to seed billions into science and technology in Africa. This makes Africa Tech Week a timely forum for industry leaders and specialists from around the world to gather here and set a collective manifesto for the continent’s technological destiny.”

The next Silicon Valley

Cape Town, meanwhile, will grow its international reputation as a supportive environment for tech incubators and start-ups. It will position itself as a strategic location for multinationals to set up regional headquarters and as a world-class city for tech talent to work, live and play in.

Councillor Raelene Arendse, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Corporate Services had the following to say: “The City of Cape Town is pleased to align with Africa Tech Week in growing the city’s reputation as a world-class global tech centre. Our quality of life and strong supportive industry, including award-winning animation studios, attract the right talent. Cape Town is proud to be the digi-tech hub of Africa and a leading location for technology start-ups and venture capital deals.”

The Department of Science & Technology (DST) Director-General: Science and Technology, Dr Phil Mjwara, commented that the Department had many projects and case studies to share with the world and this event would give it the chance to do so: “We are particularly keen to raise awareness of, and support for, our drive to open up career prospects in tech to more young South Africans. Africa Tech Week will also enable us to share learnings with similar government departments from other African countries.”

With Africa’s thought leaders expounding on how technology is set to transform everything from agriculture and healthcare to port congestion and unemployment, all eyes are turning to the tip of the continent, where Cape Town prepares to lead from the top.


Africa Tech Week is a platform of Topco Media: 21 Years of Celebrating Success.

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