Published On: Tue, Sep 5th, 2017

AfricaCom: celebrating 20 years of telecoms, tech journey

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From DION HENRICK in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN – THE 2017 edition of AfricaCom, the continent’s largest technology, telecoms and media event, will be a milestone as it celebrates its 20th anniversary in November.
Taking place from November 7-9 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in South Africa, the event has over the past two decades grown from being a purely telecommunications-focused event, to a broader, digital communications show now hosting the foremost group of influencers involved in every aspect of the African digital ecosystem.
“2017 is a landmark for AfricaCom,” explained Tom Cuthell, Portfolio Director of KNect365, the organiser of the event.
“As the digi-sphere continues to expand and impact every aspect of our personal and professional lives, AfricaCom has grown in scope to create a broad platform for everybody involved in powering the digital economy in Africa.”
The first AfricaCom was launched in Cape Town in 1997, as GSM Africa.
Landmark events followed in the continent.
It is the same year the first proposal for a regional internet registry for Africa was launched.
Mapping Africa’s technology and technology journey from that time, 2001 saw the first major sub-sea cable connecting Africa.
In 2002, SAT3/WASC/SAFE cable system was inaugurated in Senegal.
It was a technology and commercial breakthrough of unparalleled significance for Africa, offering a faster, more efficient trading channel between the continent and international markets. It was made possible by the participation of 36 nations, which fully funded the undersea cable system costing more than US$600 million.
In 2007 Mpesa, the mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service, was launched in Kenya and Tanzania and now reaches over 25 million customers. During 2007, wireless broadband subscribers overtook that of fixed line broadband subscribers in South Africa. 2008 saw the first mobile payment linked to a credit card, performed by the WIGROUP in South Africa, while in 2009 the first iPhone was launched on the continent.
In 2012, AfricaCom welcomed 8 000 delegates through its doors and in 2014, Namibia became the first African country to terminate analogue TV signals, with more than 3,8 million jobs being directly or indirectly attributed to the mobile industry by 2015.
This year, over 167-million Africans have access to the internet with around 300 technology hubs on the continent and AfricaCom prepares to welcome over 13 000 delegates from all corners of the world.
Informa, incorporating KNect365, took a bird’s eye view and early-on, recognized the growing confluence of digital, telecommunications and media.
Consequently, over the past few years, it has launched several new streams and brought together global influencers to share best practice.
“The result is a 2017 show and conference menu that is poised to re-engineer thought processes and business outputs,” the organiser stated.
CAJ News

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