South Africa: Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane Addresses Africa Tech Week, 4 to 5 Mar

press release

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the City of Cape Town have partnered with Topco Media, in hosting the inaugural Africa Tech Week Conference, from 4-5 March.

Africa Tech Week will provide a platform for thought and business leaders to demonstrate how technology can have a significant impact in society and business. It is essential to know how to leverage exponential technologies to make money, save money and become fully efficient. The two-day event will showcase Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR), technologies developed by Government and the private sector. Organisers believe local industry must be prepared to survive and thrive during the FIR.

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. Chairperson Sumarie Roodt said, "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".

Topco Media CEO Ralf Fletcher explained that in its 21 years Topco's awards, publications and conferences had always sought network organisations and sectors at the forefront of socio-economic advancement in South Africa but the playing field was changing.

"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."

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

Councillor Raelene Arendse, the City of Cape Town's Mayoral Committee Member for Corporate Services said, "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, Dr Phil Mjwara commented that the Department had so many projects and case studies to share with the world and this event is a platform 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."

The Minister of Science and Technology will address the event on Tues, 5 March. Also on the same day, the Department will host a breakaway session under the theme, "How is the National System of Innovation advancing the Fourth Industrial Revolution". The session will be broadcasted live of Business Day TV and will include the following speakers:

Dr Thandi Mgwebi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Tshwane University of Technology, Prof Maritha Kotze, Precision Medicine and Dr Barbara Glover, Research Fellow, Nepad.

The Africa Tech Week will comprise various international and national speakers, breakaway sessions addressing various technologies that characterise FIR and an exhibition.

Issued by: Department of Science and Technology

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