Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and the largest telecom market in the continent, has been chosen as the host country of the inaugural Digital Conference & Exhibition, slated for April 23-25, 2013.
The three days ICT event will be held at Nicon Luxury Hotel, in Abuja, the capital city. Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja Sheraton Hotel, Bolingo Hotel, Protea Hotel Asokoro, Chelsea Hotel, Rockview Hotel, and Hampton Suites have been designated as official accommodation hotels for guests expected from around Nigeria, African countries, and the rest of the world.
First Bank of Nigeria Plc, one of Nigeria’s biggest financial institutions with operations throughout the country, as well as in South Africa, United Kingdom, France and China, has signed up as the Official Banker of the pan-African ICT event. The bank, a well-established and globally trusted financial brand, provides the revenue collection platform for delegates, sponsors and exhibitors from all over Nigeria, other African countries, and the rest of the world.
Speaking during the Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting held in Abuja last weekend for the forthcoming confab, Dr. Evans Woherem, MD/CEO of Compumetrics Solutions Limited, the organizer of the event, said, “Departing from the usual gathering of ICT people talking to other ICT people, Digital Africa 2013 deliberately targets sectors of the society that are major consumers of ICT such as government ministries and agencies, agriculture, education, health and national security organizations”.
Dr. Woherem explained that, “The aim of this continental technology conference is to promote a better integrated Africa, using modern ICT tools. The event is an important platform to network, share knowledge on the latest developments in the ICT world, do business, and sign deals. The conference program which comprises plenary and breakout sessions is complemented by a parallel exhibition of various ICT products, devices, services, solutions and innovations”.
“The conference is open to delegates, sponsors and exhibitors from the 54 countries in Africa, as well as from the rest of the world. The event has been designed to add value to the leading global computer and telecom brands targeting the virgin and juicy African markets, ICT investors from Europe, the Americas and Asia, seeking fresh markets, and ICT industry regulators and agencies across African countries wishing to showcase their potentials to the world”.
“Also expected at Digital Africa 2013 are major African telephone service providers, major African broadband service providers, top telecom and IT hardware makers, assemblers and suppliers, top software and solutions providers, and Africa’s leading banks at the forefront of unleashing the untapped opportunities of mobile money across the continent”.
“The conference also targets ICT professionals from Africa’s military and para-military organizations, universities and research institutes, hospitals, clinics, and various organizations that promote better health, and African technology ‘whiz kids’ who have great products to showcase to the continent and the rest of the world”.
Dr. Evans Woherem, the convener of Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition, has described the continent as the last frontier for global ICT companies seeking fresh markets.
A telecom analyst at Landesbank in Germany, Mr. Ralph Szymczak, has recently described Africa as 2nd to China in terms of global ICT growth in the last five years. As at 2010 for instance, Vodafone’s South African subsidiary, Vodacom, had surpassed the company’s UK operations in profit.
Africa offers major telecom companies opportunities, not only in the traditional voice services but also substantial revenue streams in internet service as well as mobile money operations. According to Mr. Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom of Kenya in which Vodafone has a 45% stake, over 14 million Kenyan customers currently use its M-PESA platform as a mobile bank.
Abuja, the host city of Digital Africa 2013, is centrally located in Nigeria, with easy access by road and air transportation to facilitate the movement of local and foreign participants in the conference.
The federal capital boasts of having the best infrastructure of any Nigerian city, including water resources, world-class roads, communications systems, electricity, etc. Next to Lagos, it has become the country’s largest market for banking and finance, property and real estate, ICT, civil aviation, and general commerce.