22 Jun 2016

Networking at West Africa Com 2016: The regional platform for the ICT and the West African digital sector


By Sofia Indtaher - VIP Relations Executive, KNect365 at Informa

West Africa Com in Dakar, formerly known as Connecting West Africa Com, brought together the Francophone and Anglophone markets of West Africa. The event offered a VIP environment for executives in the telecommunications, ICT, digital and enterprise sectors to meet, exchange ideas and conduct business. This is the leading annual event in the region for those in the ICT and telecommunications sectors, in both the private and public spheres.


This year’s West Africa Com gathered a large range of attendees from some of the biggest and the most imminent international enterprises, such as: Orange, Expresso Telecom, Sonatel, Atlantique Telecom, Google, Africa Open Innovation, Vodafone Ghana, Tigo. We also had the pleasure of welcoming government entities like the Senegalese Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, the Government of Sierra Leone and representatives from UNESCO.
 

Our attendees were not only attending the annual forum for the West African digital, ICT and telco sectors, but they could also meet with their peers through a diverse range of networking opportunities. Attendees could choose from our speed networking sessions, hosted lunch tables, a VIP pool-side networking cocktail party, as well as pre-arranged one-to-one meetings between sponsors, VIPs and delegates. 


“Really interesting meetings that could potentially lead to future partnerships. Interesting and fun way to network as well. Thank you for including this new concept to what is supposed to be a very formal setting.”
Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Fall - Head of IT, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development Senegal

One of our most well received networking activities were the two executive speed networking sessions, which ran each morning. Executive speed networking is an informal but structured networking platform where VIPs, sponsors and exhibitors get to meet key like-minded industry leaders. The purpose of these sessions is to enable companies to present their businesses to the relevant people and spark a common interest between buyers and sellers. If both sides find their offerings of interest, they have the opportunity to exchange their business cards and schedule further meetings that might lead to future collaborations. What delegates favoured was the more relaxed and casual setting where they could enjoy exchanging and talking about their respective businesses. Many VIPs and sponsors managed to close deals thanks to the executive speed networking sessions they attended during the conference. 
“West Africa Com is the door for telecom operators. Africa Operators have the opportunity to exchange with suppliers with the same level of performance of the GSMA events. Well done!”
Khadim Rassoul Diop - Field Operation Director, Expresso Telecom

Further to the speed networking sessions, we offered our sponsors a one-to-one meeting programme. This is an additional opportunity for companies to increase their visibility and enable them to talk further about their products with their key audience. These pre-scheduled meetings happened to be crucial and very beneficial for both VIPs and sponsors, as they could understand each other better and take the time to discuss their respective business interests in more detail. This tailored and more personalised approach was thoroughly enjoyed by all who took part in these networking sessions.

“For me it’s a 10 out of 10 for this event and special thanks to Sofia who arranged extra meetings for us when we asked her to help us out. Looking forward to the next edition!”
Gershon Guther - VP Sales, Equatel

As a part of the conference and as a further networking opportunity, we organised a pool-side cocktail party for our attendees who enjoyed networking under the sun with a glass of wine. As organisers, we always try to understand our audience and find the interest of all our attendees considering their religions, beliefs, or even their eating restrictions.
West Africa Com took place during the Holy Month of Ramadan in a country where more than 95% of inhabitants are Muslims. Because of this, we thought that the attendance rate would be way lower than previous years, but it wasn’t the case, we still had a lot of people coming to enjoy the conference as the interest in telecommunications, ICT, digital and broadband in the region is really high. 




"Among those meetings, around 60% can be potential deals in the future. Thanks a lot to Sofia who did her best to facilitate those meetings between Intelsat and the attendees. Thanks”
Lin Candide Avahouin – Sales Director, Intelsat

At West Africa Com, year after year, we want to make sure our guests, VIPs and sponsors find their advantage by meeting as many relevant delegates as possible onsite. Our main objective is to ensure that we meet our audience expectations in the best way possible and make our events more and more attractive to increase attendance year on year.

Based on a general satisfaction from our VIPs, delegates and sponsors, we hope to see you next year to enjoy more of our VIP offerings at future events.


If you would like to learn more about networking opportunities at West Africa Com or any other Com World Series event, please get in contact with Sofia Indtaher, VIP Relations Executive at Informa here.