Women’s Day will be celebrated in South Africa on 9 August. Whilst many people use the bank holiday to take time off and relax, for many, it is an important reminder that a woman’s rights to participate in society and the economy on her own merit still fall short of where they should be. A situation that still rings true for women in many countries around the world.
Seeking specifically to address the gender gap in technology, Africa Tech Festival, the home of AfricaCom and AfricaTech, will engage in much needed open and robust dialogue with both genders. The event, returning physically to Cape Town in November this year, will also present several working sessions that look at the challenges, the opportunities, and the solutions to propel women’s advancement across the continent.
James Williams, Director, Events | Connecting Africa | Informa Tech, says: “It’s been 25 years since we staged the first AfricaCom event focused on connectivity in Africa. Although the continent (and the event) has progressed in leaps and bounds, there is still a requirement to present content at this event that puts women front and centre of the digital transformation agenda.”
Adding to the conversation, Laura Stubbing, CEO of EQL:HER, a global network and event series, which exists to re-balance gender inequities in the technology sector and which is involved in the programme of Africa Tech Festival, highlights, “The funding that went into female led start-ups between 2013-2021, for example, was less than 5% of the total available funding. Yet, with necessity being the ‘mother’ of invention, women are well placed to drive technology innovation across Africa – why is the financial support for women-led start-ups still lagging?”
EQL:HER exists to re-balance gender in the technology sector to secure women an inclusive future across all businesses. This year EQL:HER will return to Africa Tech Festival to tackle two critical topics: changing the face of leadership roles in tech, and how to become an angel investor. Past EQL:HER speakers at Africa Tech Festival include Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women; Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT for the Government of Rwanda, Tracy Turner, Founder & Chairman of Copia Global and Arianna Huffington, CEO of Thrive Global.
To address this divide, Africa Tech Festival, in partnership with EQL:HER and Connecting Africa is also putting together a booklet showcasing some inspiring South Africa women active in the tech sector. Released today, this booklet celebrates the achievements of inspiring women in tech and looks at providing practical tips on how to build a career in this fast paste sector, to bridge the gender divide and promote inclusivity on all levels. Interviewees include Juanita Clark, Founder & Chief, Executive, Digital Council Africa Patience, Mthunzi-Kufa, Research Group Leader at CSIR, Janet Sawari, CEO & Founder, The AI Review, Mampsane Dolly Phalane, Director at Procter & Gamble, Jeni Kostova, Group Executive: Marketing and Communications at Ayo Technology Solutions, and so many more, this eBook is a must-read for all women interested in kickstarting or boosting their career in tech.
In addition to this eBook, Africa Tech Festival will once again gather the brightest minds in telecom and tech. Just some of the exciting speakers that delegates can look forward to hearing are: Funke Opeke, who is founder and CEO of MainOne, a leading Digital Infrastructure service provider that built West Africa’s first open-access submarine cable system interconnecting Nigeria; Ghana; and Portugal in 2010. Nina Triantis, Global Head of Telecoms, Media & Technology at Standard Bank, who has over 30 years investment experience in the TMT sector.
Other luminaries who will speak at the event are: Nika Naghavi, Executive Director at MFS Africawho is responsible for building and managing relationships with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to unlock growth opportunities. Joining her, Nastassha Dooks, Business Executive head – SME &SOHO at Vodacom, and Ida Nganga, Regional Head at UNESCO Emerging Technologies for Development and Global President, Startup Innovation for the Global Council for the Promotion of International Trade. She is also the Founder of the award-winning Regional Consortium for Development – RCD Africa, whose experts use technology and engineering as an enabler for achieving Sustainable Development Goals.