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Power To The People – 2021 Africa Tech Festival Explores Where Trees And Technology Meet

With Africa becoming a hotbed of activity for a host of data-centric organizations, and with the increasing reliance on Information Communications Technology (ICT) to run our daily lives, consideration as to how to power this technological revolution and its impact, is becoming imperative – the world over. 

But it is the impact on the African continent that will be addressed at this year’s virtual Africa Tech Festival (featuring AfricaCom and AfricaTech) happening 08 – 12 November 2021. 

Diving straight in on day one of the conference and passionate about ICT’s capabilities to be the solution to its own problem (think e-waste and environmental impact), is Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone.  Aki-Sawyerr will give a keynote presentation sharing some insights into her #TransformFreetown strategy that makes use of green ICT principles to forge healthy cities and inclusive communities.

$200M was invested in African green energy start-ups in 2020, an impressive, and growing, figure but one that needs to grow by magnitudes to provide a viable alternative to the fossil fuel industry – is this investment growth likely in the next 5 years, a question that Aki-Sawyerr will also present in a fireside chat with Grace Wachori, Partnerships & Engagement LeadBLAB East Africa on Empowering Africa’s green ICT start-ups. 

Access to power will undoubtedly need to underpin the continent’s future growth, and renewable energy tops that list.  Expanding on the dialogue started at Africa Tech Festival in 2020, this year’s event will include progress reports on Africa’s adoption of hydro, solar, wind, and other forms of cleaner, long-lasting, less environmentally impact drivers. Discussions on offer will include the likes of:

·         Road to a Renewable Africa with Bill Lenihan, CEO of Zola Electric, and Dr. Olufunso Somorin, Regional Principal Officer at the African Development Bank, who is leading the bank’s work on climate change and green growth across East Africa.  Joining them is Kellie Murungi, Chief investments officer at East African Power, as well as Olamide Oguntoye, the tech policy lead at the Tony Blair Foundation for Global Change.

·         Bringing (back) power to Africa, Tony Tiyou, Founder and CEO of Renewables in Africa, will share updates on some of Africa’s biggest solar developments, including a pay-as-you-go solution to connect off-grid users to electricity.

·         The cost of not doing something about climate change now and ICT’s role in its challenges can end up potentially costing us everything.  Exploring how to radically improve the bottom green line, Tracy Bolton, COO at SAP Africa will deliver some insights on how technology holds the key to unlocking green as a profitability driver.

·         100% renewable electricity by 2030?  Kenya is leading the way for Africa’s journey to a cleaner energy future, already deriving 90% of its power supply from a renewable source.

·         Exploring Africa’s green ICT investment models. That Africa (and the world), require new ways of energy to power the planet goes without question.  But funding these innovations and installations is another matter entirely. A panel comprising  Douglas Baguma, Managing Director, Innovex, Dr. Olufunso Somorin, Regional Principal Officer, African Development Bank, Ahmed Badr, Director, Project Facilitation and Support, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Kellie Murungi, Chief Investments Officer, East African Power look at ways and means to make Africa’s New Deal a reality.

Rounding out discussions on Day one is a panel entitled: Carbon Zero Data, which explores solutions to the “Dirty Data Centre” power-hungry energy consumption of these organizations.

Whilst the impact of technology on the ‘green economy and what it can do to enhance our ability to be better, kinder, more inclusive, and even more profitable, affects the green credentials of just about every aspect of Africa Tech Festival, the dedicated conversation on Green ICT, continues on Thursday 11th November with a series of presentations such as:

·         A smarter, greener future: Achieving sustainable growth while protecting our planet

·         The role of emerging tech in addressing the global climate emergency

·         How can Africa’s 4IR potential be realized without causing damage to our natural world?

Also, look out for a Fireside chat on Thursday entitled: Lighting Africa – Closing the electricity deficit to deliver energy for all. This explores solutions on how to connect the more than 600m people in sub-Saharan Africa who still lack access to electricity, without which, their inclusion in the digital economy is hampered.

For this and more, and to be part of the conversation shaping the future of Africa, register to attend AfricaTech Festival today.  It is currently FREE and delegates can apply here. For a complete line-up see the website here.