Bridging The Digital Divide: Africa’s First ICT Indaba Kicks Off In June

ICT-Indaba

VENTURES AFRICA – More than sixty international high-powered speakers are set to address hundreds of delegates from around the world at Africa’s inaugural ICT conference that will formulate an African Agenda to promote the ICT sector to spur economic and social development throughout the continent.

 

The four-day event will also discuss various models on how African countries can improve the use of the ICT to prepare Africa for the next ICT revolution. The ICT Indaba is organized by the South African Government’s Department of Communications and endorsed by the International Telecommunications Union.

 

It starts from 4th to 7th June at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. It is envisaged that it will be held annually for the next five years.

 

Its major themes are “Connecting Africa to Development with ICTs” and “Bridging the Digital Divide”. The ICT Indaba 2012 has identified six critical sectors in driving the ICT as a tool for development in Education; Health; Infrastructure; Agri Business; Trade and Extractive Industries.

 

During the indaba, there will be several exhibitors showcasing futuristic technological innovations and interactive workshops.

 

Scores of African Union Regulators, communications ministers and representatives from the Pan African Parliament and SADC and BRICS countries have been invited the event.

 

In one of the 11 sessions, speakers from nine countries will deliver papers under the topic of “Africans Learning from Africans. These include:
• Jessica Caloco, iHubs Research Kenya, who will speak about the applications and content related best practice;
• Apalia CEO, Guy Badjoko, will deliver a paper on Integrated Telecommunication Services via cloud computing;
• Victor Agbenenou of Togo in Burkina Faso, founder of Smart Tablet Africa, will talk on “Performing Tablets Made in Africa”.

 

In the session entitled “Lessons Learned from Successful African Tech Entrepreneurs”, speakers will be Kris Senanu, the CEO of Access Kenya, Yerim Sow, founder of the Telcel Cote d’Ivoire and Teylium Group and Alain Ba Oumar Founder and CEO of Internet Gabon.

 

The indaba will also discuss the “Digital Africa: A Vision for the Future and Preparing Skills and Create Jobs that will enable the Emergence of the Knowledge Economy.” In this session, the keynote speaker will be Mr Houlin Zhao, the ITU’s Deputy Secretary General, who will present a paper “The Powerful Dynamic Role of ICTs in Socio-economic Development.”

 

Under the topic of “Digital Africa – A Vision for Africa”, a session is to be devoted to on “Developing Smart Cities in the African Context.” Mr Vijay Tharumartnam of Multi Development Corporation will speak on the Malaysian Silicon Valley Experience. There will also be presentations on Bangalore, Indian’s Silicon Valley, Mexico’s Guadalajara and Egypt.
Five speakers from Rwanda, China, India, Malaysia, and Cuba will present papers on the development models under the theme of “Sourcing, Building and Retaining the necessary Skills Force for a robust ICT Industry.”

 

Crystal Rugege of Rwanda will present a case study on “How Rwanda is currently training a globally competitive ICT skills base.” Dr Jun Xia, of School of Economics and Management at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, will speak about the Chinese Model of “Advancing Rural Development through ICTs.”

 

The Indian Model will look at how to conceptualise and run “eSkills Development Programme in Developing countries” while the Cuban Model will share experiences for “Producing Industry-ready Graduates.”

 

One of the highlights of the first day is a session on Crystal Ball Exercise with Technology Gurus that will feature eight international experts from several countries. They will discuss a number of strategies including “How technology will shape Africa and the world within the next 15-20 years and “What should African entrepreneurs focus to capitalize on coming opportunities.”
The speakers on this topic include Mr Sam Pitroda, adviser to the Prime Minister of India Public Information. Infrastructure and Innovations; Safroadu Yeboah-Amankwah McKinsey, who will look at the Understanding the African Digital Consumer; and Mteto Nyati, Managing Director of Microsoft South Africa.

 

Some of the sessions will focus on “Critical policies that must be accelerated to advance Africa’s Knowledge-based Economy and “Developing Clusters to drive local ICT Industry development”.

 

Another key session will focus on “Using the Africa Infrastructure Development Corridor as a basis for integrated ICT Initiatives”.

 

Participants will include speakers from the World Bank and African Development Bank.

 

Communication Minsters from Botswana, Mr Nonofo Molefi, and his counterpart from the Republic of Congo, Mr Thierry Moungalla, will deliver papers on “Opportunities and Challenges for Broadband Deployment”.

 

A Ministerial Forum involving African ministers will reflect on some of the key components of the ICT Indaba including innovations across Africa, the challenges and opportunities facing the continent. Other discussion points will include:
• International Connectivity: Development, challenges and constraints
• Funding and investment in Broadband: A platform for the growth of the Information Society and Knowledge economy in Africa
• Building productive capacity to become Information Society and Knowledge Economy in Africa
• Africa Infrastructure for Telecommunications, Broadcasting for the Internet keeping regional traffic regional, and
• Building on Regional Development Initiatives: Connect Africa

 

Communications Minister Ms. Dina Pule said the ICT INDABA seeks to ensure the ICT sector played its role as primary enablers of economic growth and job creation throughout the continent. ”I take pleasure in inviting our compatriots across the Diaspora, to our country, to partner with us, the ICT Industry, labour, and civil society as we enter a bold partnership that seeks to shape the development of the continent.
“By hosting the ICT Indaba 2012, the South African government is sending out a bold word to the world that Africa is ready to be the next boom market for ICT services. Africa is a minefield of opportunities for communication services providers because it has a population estimated at one billion people. But many of them do not have access to affordable communications services,” she said.