By Emeka Aginam
How can we build technology that best supports African creators? How can companies start to breed a data culture for success? What does it mean for African innovations to be globally relevant?
These are some of the questions that Microsoft will be exploring at NexTech Africa, the organisation’s new flagship Africa technology event taking place on 2 and 3 February 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The capacity building event is expected to connect technology and business leaders, Microsoft engineers, local developers and entrepreneurs, in an effort to listen, engage and collaborate on developing more locally relevant technology.
External speakers at the event, according to the promoters will include Joseph Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary of the Kenyan ICT Ministry; Ranjith Cherickel, CEO of icolo.co; Regina Honu, CEO of Soronko Solutions; and Andreas Fruhen, CIO of M-KOPA Solar. Microsoft representatives include Toni Townes-Whitley, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Public Sector at Microsoft; T.K Rengarajan, Corporate VP of AI & Research; Hoop Somuah, Technical Advisor to the Microsoft CEO; and Kunle Awosika, Country Manager for Microsoft in Kenya.
“NexTech Africa 2017 is running under the theme: Building for Africa. African entrepreneurs seek to solve many business and market related challenges, and developers play a critical role in developing locally relevant solutions across various sectors from healthcare to fintech. We believe in the power of the emerging technologies to connect people to key services and boost productivity, while utilizing unique and differentiated business models.
Our goal with this event is to bring various players together and collaborate, so that we can equip our innovators with the right technology-based tools and infrastructure, helping them create and scale more of these solutions,” Kunle Awosika, Country Manager of Microsoft Kenya, said.
The two-day line-up will include a series of talks, sessions and forums on topics including cloud, big data, machine learning, the Internet of Things, digital transformation and technology in emerging markets. In addition, attending entrepreneurs and developers will have the opportunity to engage with Microsoft engineers on a 1:1 basis.
For Amrote Abdella, Regional Director of Microsoft 4Afrika, “Microsoft, through initiatives like 4Afrika, has been doing a lot of work on the ground supporting and developing local innovation. “Through this work, we’re seeing first-hand how mobile and cloud technology is accelerating growth for Africa, but also how our innovators are using these platforms to accelerate technology for the world.
“NexTech Africa is an opportunity to fast-track the application of products and services, tailored to meet our needs in Africa. Similarly, NexTech will also showcase world-class African solutions that are ready to go global.”