17 Nov 2011

Some thoughts from last week's AfricaCom

Last week's AfricaCom attracted a huge audience of 6000 participants from across the continent and the world (with in particular a strong presence from India and China).
It may be hard to pick the most talked-about topics at the event, as there were so many varied strands of discussion.
In no particular order, here are some topics that stood out for me:
- There is still a massive growth potential in Africa, as was presented by Africa's leading operators at the event: MTN, Vodacom, Orange, Etisalat / Atlantique Telecom and more
- As the market is maturing, operators focus more and more on customer loyalty strategies
- Networks are improving; international connectivity projects are enabling the provision of internet access that is very much needed on the continent
- Africa is ready for a boom in new content and apps, thanks to the better access to mobile data services; social media brands and content providers had a stronger presence than in previous years at the event, with speakers from Mxit, Motribe, Universal Music, and the participation of broadcasters such as Multichoice, SABC and the BBC to the new AfricaCast session.
- Services for the enterprise segments as well as m-health, m-money and m-government were a big subject
- the new Enterprise ICT session attracted CIOs and IT directors from non-telecom companies interested in learning how to improve their ICT strategies; this is proving to be a major new revenue stream for operators and vendors alike
- Cloud services were discussed in several sessions, and were being pushed by a large number of exhibitors
- Infrastructure sharing and managed services will play an important part in improving operators’ efficiencies and cost management
- Regulators and governments have an important role to play in encouraging innovation in Africa
I must have left out a lot of ideas and topics of discussions, so your feedback is welcome!