7 Aug 2015

Time for long-term strategic thinking!

Time for long-term strategic thinking! The move to digital is shaping Africa’s economy, enabling it to become a world leader in tech and service innovation.

This year the Vision for Africa keynotes are looking at the future of digital Africa, from technology evolution to new services, investment, business transformation and sustainable strategies. In a bid to compare and contrast differing visions, industry heavyweights will swap ideas with market shakers and up-and-coming innovators.

The objective: to give you the most forward-thinking perspectives on the potential of digital Africa, so you can seize the opportunities in the world’s most exciting market. 


Christian de Faria
Airtel Africa

Luke Mckend
Country Director, SA

Elisabeth Medou
Orange Cameroun

Bright Simons

Nina Triantis
Global Head Telecoms & Media
Standard Bank

Ime Archibong
Director of Product Partnerships

Diego Camberos
General Manager
Tigo Senegal

Suraya Hamdulay
Executive Head: Group Sustainability

Day 1 - Tuesday 17th November

Innovating for Africa's Digital Future
8.50 Welcome by Informa Telecoms & Media

9.00 Innovation Leadership Panel: How to support a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in digital Africa?
  • Building an African way of promoting innovation: what best practice can be learnt from the Silicon Valley and other entrepreneur cultures and how to adapt them to local culture and needs?
  • Operators & Innovation: Is a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship possible in a large historic company? What should relations between operators and tech start-ups look like?
  • How to support the start-up ecosystem in Africa? Examining the role of incubator hub, investors and other stakeholders
Moderator: Larry Madowo, Technology Editor & Anchor, NTV Kenya
Dr Jackie Chimhanzi, Senior Strategist, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)
Christian de Faria, CEO, Airtel Africa
Markku Mäkeläinen, Director, Global Operator Partnerships, Facebook
Marc Rennard, EVP Africa Middle East & Asia, Orange Group
Bright Simons, President, mPedigree

  9.30 What does Digital Africa mean? Technology evolution for a connected world
Fredrik Jejdling, President of Sub Saharan Africa Ericsson

9.50 Vision for Digital Africa panel: How will new technology transform Africa?
  • What new technologies will have the biggest impact on African consumers and enterprises in the years to come?
  • How will new technologies affect the telecoms, media & ICT ecosystem?
  • How can operators use technology for competitive advantage?
Moderator: Abe Wakama, Founder &MD, IT News Africa
Paolo Campoli,  Head of MEA Global SP Sales and SP CTO, EMEA, Cisco
Jose Henriques, CEO, Movicel, Angola
Luke Mckend, Country Director, South Africa, Google
Elisabeth Medou, CEO, Orange Cameroun
10.20 What will Africa’s path towards 5G look like?
Li Peng, President of Eastern and Southern Africa, Huawei
Day 2 – Wednesday 18th November

New Digital Models
9.00 From hardware to software: a shift in how operators can view their networks
Paolo Campoli,  Head of Middle East & Africa Global SP Sales and SP CTO, EMEA, Cisco

9.20 Services, data and the digital transition: How is LTE changing the digital landscape?
  • Assessing the state of LTE rollout in Africa: how have the models worked and what level of coverage is needed?
  • Solving the spectrum issue: what is available and what remains to be done for telcos to access sufficient spectrum for LTE?
  • How will LTE access change digital service offerings: data, content, broadcasting
Moderator: Alex B. Dadson, Managing Director, Blue Management Group
Tony Dolton, CEO, Unitel, Angola
Miguel Geraldes, CEO, MTC, Namibia
Jannie Van Zyl, Executive Head: Innovation, Vodacom
9.50 Future-proofing networks & services for the digital economy

Willem Hendrickx, President for Europe, Middle-East & Africa, Alcatel-Lucent
  10.10 Transforming operators’ models to succeed in the digital economy
  • The big debate: should operators focus on being providers of connectivity or of digital services?
  • Exploring new revenue streams outside core services (IoT, enterprise services, financial services etc.): what services are most promising and how can operators make the shift successfully?
  • Assessing triple play opportunities: what does it mean for African markets?
  • Evolving partnerships for the new digital economy: finding a sustainable win-win situation with content, OTT and other partners
Asif Aziz, Group Marketing Director, Expresso Telecom Group
Richard Bell,  Chief Executive Officer, East Africa Capital Partners, and Vice Chairman, Wananchi Group
Arnauld Blondet, Innovation director for AMEA,  Orange Group
Diego Camberos , General Manager, Tigo Senegal
Dr. Harry Gombachika, Chief Executive Officer, Malawi Telecommunications Limited
Farhad Khan, Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel Africa
Day 3 – Thursday 19th November

Sustaining Profitability
9.00 Ministerial Keynote: Supporting growth in the telecommunications, media and ICT industry

9.20 Investment, consolidation and profitability: Changing the continent’s telecom landscape
  • Investing in telcos: what are operators’ investment priorities and what are investors looking for?
  • Addressing the need for consolidation in African markets: which markets, how to make it work?
  • Funding ICT infrastructure: what are the pros and cons of the various investment models?
Moderator: Siki Mgabadeli, Radio & TV Financial Journalist
Mike Peo, Head: Infrastructure, Energy, Telecoms, Nedbank Limited
Christophe Soulet, Executive Operations Director, Airtel Africa
Aniko Szigetvari, Head, Africa & Latin America TMT Group, International Finance Corporation
Nina Triantis, Global Head Telecoms & Media, Standard Bank
Keith Webb, Investment Banking Infrastructure Finance, Rand Merchant Bank

9.50 Communications with a difference: services for sustainable growth in the community
Speaker to be announced soon
  10.10 Targeting underserved communities: strategies to deliver digital communications across Africa
  • Examining which segments are still underserved: geographic segments (e.g. rural areas), customer segments (e.g. women)
  • Is there a commercial case to address low-end market & underserved customers with specific services?
  • How to build CSR strategies with a view to sustainable commercial objective?
  • What handsets and devices will help target new segments?
Moderator: Spiwe Chireka, Independent Telecommunications, Media and Technology (TMT) Consultant
Ime Archibong, Director of Product Partnerships, Facebook
Patrick Benon, CEO, Orange Botswana
John Bernard, Global Marketing Director, Mozilla
Aboubakar Haman, Legal & Regulatory Director Atlantique Telecom
Suraya Hamdulay, Executive Head: Group Sustainability, Vodacom

3 Aug 2015

Mobile gaming in Africa can skyrocket if telcos offer cheap data and fast connection speeds, says gamer Pippa Tshabalala

Digital services are a big deal at this year’s AfricaCom: innovation, new revenue streams, mobile money and digital entertainment feature heavily on the programme. In the spotlight today is the new panel looking specifically at mobile gaming .

To lead the discussion, we’ve invited Pippa Tshabalala, a South African gamer and writer who will quiz a group of experts from gaming specialists as diverse as QCF Design, Make Games South Africa, Fuzzy Logic, Afroes and Google Play. We ask Pippa for her views on the mobile gaming market in Africa.
What is your background and how did you become interested in the gaming market?
I've been active in the more public sphere of the gaming market since 2008 when I began presenting a show called PlayR and then later The Verge, both of them on Vuzu on DStv, but I've been a gamer my entire life and before becoming involved in television I was teaching a Masters level course on video game theory at Wits University. Although I'm not currently presenting (The Verge ended in 2012), I'm still active in the local industry. I write and have written for a number of brands and publications over the years.

What makes South Africa’s gaming industry exciting and how does it compare with other regions? South Africa and indeed Africa in general is quite unique because we have a very vibrant indie game industry with a big focus on mobile gaming. I think due to the proliferation of mobile devices in Africa, there is a real need for good quality mobile games that speak to an African audience although that is certainly not the only area in which we excel. There are a number of local developers who are producing award winning games that are being picked up for distribution on platforms like PS4 and Xbox One as well as PC and mobile. In terms of comparison to other regions, we have no large AAA studios producing games, but I don't see this as a bad thing - it gives us a real opportunity to innovate and develop unique content.
Which gaming companies should we watch in the coming years?
Definitely Free Lives, the creators of Bro Force. The Brotherhood is also producing incredibly interesting work in the form of Stasis. Thoopid is also one to watch, especially in the mobile development arena - they're responsible for the hugely successful Snailboy on iPhone. New companies are appearing all the time as game development becomes an increasingly viable career option - I think we should always be on the lookout for good content.

What role can telecom operators play in the development of a successful gaming industry in Africa?
I think the real issue for many people is data. While the prices certainly have come down in recent years, being able to connect to the internet to play against friends when you're not on a WiFi network can get quite expensive. More and more games incorporate multiplayer, and ideally cheap or free data would be a real boon to the gaming sector. Telecom operators need to offer increasingly competitive packages to accommodate this. Gaming for many people is still a luxury because to download a large game is simply not possible unless you're on WiFi.

What do you think will be this year’s most game-changing development in Africa’s digital entertainment sector?
I'd like to link this to my above point and say that I hope to see a decrease in cost and an increase in connection speeds - we still lag behind a large portion of the world significantly when it comes to these two points. If both of these things happen then I think you'll really see the use of mobile phones in the entertainment sector skyrocket. Already with the current connection speeds and data charges, consumer spending on mobile gaming is expected to grow to R1.5 billion by the time we reach 2018 - imagine if we had access to cheap data and fast connection speeds?

What are your expectations of the mobile gaming debate at AfricaCom this year?
I certainly think it's going to be interesting! Everyone has very different opinions not only about what is needed in the gaming sector, but they also come from very different backgrounds within it. Everyone bases their arguments on their experiences within the industry, and understandably those have all been unique. I think we'll all go away with some thought provoking insights that hopefully we can use to further the industry in Africa.

The mobile gaming panel will take place during the Digital Entertainment stream on Tuesday 17th November at AfricaCom. To view the whole programme click here.

Top 10 reasons to attend AfricaCom 2015

AfricaCom 2015
With just a few months until AfricaCom opens its doors, now is the perfect time to start planning your trip so you can make the most of your time in Cape Town.
Here are our top 10 reasons to attend AfricaCom this year:
1 This year’s conference programme is bigger and better than ever, covering the industry's hottest topics including mobile money and m-commerce, new revenue streams, cost efficient operators and SDN & network virtialisation - download the brochure
2 AfricaCom 2015 will see a line up with 63% brand new speakers, including never before heard speakers representing the likes of UBER, Expresso, Fuzzy Logic, Deezer, ITA and the Angel Hub. View the full speaker list.
3 Everyone who's anyone attends AfricaCom - previous attendees include Airtel, MTN, Etisalat, Safaricom, Orange, Vodacom, and more. Register today to make sure you don't miss out!
4 AfricaCom provides unrivaled networking opportunities before, during and after the event,through our networking app, 15+ exclusive networking hours, speed networking sessions and our one-to-one meeting service. Find out more.
5 Source the latest technologies and solutions on the market from 375+ exhibitors including the likes of Huawei, Intelsat, Airtel, Alcatel-Lucent, Vodacom, ACE, Liquid Telecom and Cisco. View the full exhibitor list.
6 Apps World Africa, LTE Africa, TV Connect Africa and VSAT Africa are all co-located at AfricaCom, providing you with even more content, speakers, exhibitors and attendees to meet and network with!
7 AfricaCom is the VIP destination, attracting senior level decision making attendees through our exclusive, invitation-only features including The Village, the AfricaCom 100 Leadership Summit, and the CIO Forum.
8 Experience our brand new features and community events including the Ericsson AHUB, SDN & Network Virtualisation PoC Zone, and the free to attend AfricaCom Masterclasses.
9 Celebrate innovation across digital Africa at the AfricaCom Awards, everyone's favourite part of AfricaCom! Taking place at the end of Day Two, this year sees 14 different categories, recognising digital leaders from across the industry. Find out more.
10 Cape Town! If you’re planning to stay a few days to enjoy all the Cape has to offer, get started: those wine-tasting tours, shark-diving experiences and villas in Camps Bay won’t book themselves…

New Speakers Confirmed:

Strive Masiyiwa

Dr Miriam Altman
Head of Strategy

Mark BennettDirector EMEA
Google Play

Herman Singh
Group Chief Digital Officer

Verone Mankou
CEO and Founder

Sunil Geness,
Information Technology Association South Africa

Alina VinogradovaPartnerships and Business Development Lead

Adrian Walker
Pricing Director Africa

Bayan Monadjem
Chief Technical Officer
Airtel Africa

Seaparo PhalaChief Information Officer
Department of Arts and Culture

Plus: senior representatives of Orange, Airtel, MTN, Vodacom, Millicom, Econet Wireless, Facebook, Safaricom, Etisalat, Twitter, Uganda Telecom, Cell C, Unitel, Movicel, MTC, Zamtel and more. Want to join the speaker line up? Get in touch!
To find out more and to see what's in store for AfricaCom 2015, download the brochure!
Best wishes,
The AfricaCom team