Tech4Africa 2012: ‘Unlocking the next billion consumers’

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Prominent technology and innovation conference Tech4Africa has announced its theme for 2012: “Unlocking the next billion consumers”.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because the term “next billion” been popping up all over the tech world in the last year or so. When Nokia launched its Asha range of low-end phones last year, it targeted them at “the next billion internet users”. Payments giant MasterCard meanwhile is betting big on mobile in a bid to capture as much of that next billion as it can.

Given that seven of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are in Africa, it’s likely that the continent will form a large portion of that next billion. It makes sense that a conference that bills itself as Africa’s “premier mobile, web and emerging technology event”, should choose it as a theme then.

Tech4Africa 2012 will be held on Wednesday 31 October and Thursday 1 November at The Indaba Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa. Sessions will be focused around mobile and content, the enterprise opportunity, entrepreneurship and financing, social business and innovation, while the audience will cut across the whole tech ecosystem of developers, social media marketers, technologists, corporates, students, investors and media.

The Developer Day and Hackathon on Wednesday, 31 October, includes three tracks — a day on Agile software development, a Hackathon with sessions on Ruby on Rails, Python, Raspberry Pi, PhP etc., as well as workshops for social media marketers on apps ecosystem, monetisation, etc.

The conference on Thursday 1 November includes keynote speakers Tom Rosemalia, vice president of corporate strategy and general manager of enterprise initiatives at IBM and Ralph Simon, founder & CEO of Mobilium, while other speakers include Amolo Ng’weno (MD of Digital Divide Data in Kenya), Neal Ford (Director, Software Architect and Meme Wrangler at ThoughtWorks), Vérone Mankou (CEO of Way-C in the Democratic Republic of Congo), Emma Kaye (CEO of Bozza) and social entrepreneur Josh Adler.

IBM’s Global Entrepreneurship Programme has been brought into the Tech4Africa 2012 agenda and Claudia Fan Munce, Managing Director at IBM Venture Capital Group, will introduce GEP and an award programme. Tech4Africa 2012 will also be running Ignite again — a startup workshop and pitching competition, which is being run by AngelHub and Deloitte.

A Google G+ Hangout will be held live at the conference so that tech hubs from around Africa can be part of the conference. Delegates can interact with a panel, ask questions and find out more about what is happening on the ground in Senegal, Liberia, Uganda, Tanzania, Egypt, Kenya, Congo and other parts of Africa.

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