Empowering voices – Africa Tech Festival fields a strong and successful line-up of women speakers and women-focused features in 2023 to put the spotlight on female trailblazers who are leading the tech revolution on the continent.
Africa Tech Festival in 2023, (Cape Town, 13 – 16 November), will field an impressive line-up of strong African women in technology, as a catalyst to shift the power dynamics in the industry, redressing their historic underrepresentation, funding restrictions, and other barriers to entry that have to date, prevented the technology sector from being fully inclusive.
Yet, as OECD research reveals, more than a quarter of all businesses in Africa were either started or are run by women. Despite these high levels of entrepreneurial activity, African women draw the short straw when it comes to funding. Delving into this challenge, is a panel discussion at the festival entitled: Boosting Funding for Women Entrepreneurs in Africa, and led by keynote speaker and social media expert, Amélie Ebongué, Global Brand Marketing Manager, and Author of Amazon Bestseller “Génération TikTok”.
In a March 2023 study, conducted by the organisers of the festival, key highlights reflected that women are still facing stereotypical attitudes preventing them from moving up the ladder, lack equal pay for equivalent and often better abilities, and that absence of access to education and skills remain significant hurdles to overcome in encouraging more girls and young women to consider technology as a career.
Ebongué will also champion several other important discussions at ATF this year, including a look at what is beyond streaming, leveraging performance marketing to grow start-ups, and what’s in store for Web 3.0.
Several other women-focused sessions are on offer over the 3-days. At the AfricaTech Centre stage on Wednesday 15 November, there is an opportunity to engage with successful women tech leaders through a panel discussion: Empowering Voices: Women Leading the Tech Revolution in Africa. This panel will highlight the stories of pioneering women who have excelled in various tech fields, including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, software development, and entrepreneurship. Speakers include the likes of Unathi Mtya, Group Chief Information and Digital Officer at African Bank.
While businesses have initiated efforts to foster diversity, equity, and inclusivity, significant challenges still persist in achieving real change. Addressing these underlying issues is crucial for driving diversity in Africa’s tech sector. To tackle this head on, the AfricaCom Centre Stage will host a Panel that looks at Closing the Gender Digital Divide in Africa: What Can Connectivity Providers Do? This will be led by Tom Koutsky, Senior Connectivity Policy Advisor, Digital Inclusion Team Lead, USAID Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub.
James Williams, Senior Director, Events | Connecting Africa | Informa Tech, remarks that: “We have made a conscious choice to attract powerful women in tech to showcase Africa’s female voices and their impacts on businesses, economies, and societies this year. As echoed by many of our luminary speakers, without providing a platform to showcase their achievements, it will be difficult to attract more women to enter the industry.”
Additional features during Africa Tech Festival will be dedicated to put the spotlight on African female tech leaders and rising stars. One of them takes the shape of an exclusive gala dinner, the InspiringFifty Africa Awards, run by EQL:HER, a global network and event series, which exists to re-balance gender in the technology sector to secure women an inclusive future across all businesses.
This prestigious initiative focuses on recognising the top fifty women who are making significant strides in tech careers across the African continent. Whilst waiting for the 50 winners to be unveiled during a celebratory gala dinner on 13 November at the Mount Nelson hotel, the finalists have just been released and can be seen here.
Whilst InspiringFifty Africa will be a chance to rub shoulders with the continent’s who’s who of female tech leaders, EQL:HER will run additional female-focused initiatives, including a new dedicated networking space – the EQL:HER Lounge located in the Ballroom area of the CTICC from 14 to 16 November.
Women and allies will get a chance to come together, connect and share their experiences whilst engaging in Q&As with main stage speakers, listen in to intimate fireside chats, and join power hour networking sessions to which all are encouraged to participate. Some sessions that stand out include the likes of a Workshop called, Womenomics – Unlocking the Financial Potential of Investing in Women, and a Fireside Chat: Cultivating a Sustainable Talent Stream for Women in Tech.
Funke Opeke, CEO of MainOne, a judge and sponsor of this year’s InspiringFifty, says: “Africa Tech Festival is a leader in championing women playing a key role in tech on the continent. The focus has not been limited to the few that have risen to the top of their careers, but also supporting programmes such as InspiringFifty to ensure we leave the door open and actively support those who come behind us. True parity will be achieved when all leaders in tech mentor, support, and uplift the next generation of women in technology, given that talent knows no gender boundaries.”
Diversity is not a buzzword
Diversity is a fundamental necessity. In the context of technology, diversity brings new perspectives, new ways of thinking, and innovative solutions to the table. Women, who have been historically underrepresented in STEM and STEAM fields, offer a different lens through which to view and solve complex problems.
Darshani Persadh – Technical Co-Founder at DARJYO, and another visionary speaker at EQL:HER, underlines this point, saying: “Diversity isn’t a hindrance—it’s a catalyst for innovation and progress in the tech world.”
Studies consistently show that diverse teams are more creative and better equipped to address the multifaceted challenges our digital age presents. When women are encouraged to enter STEM and STEAM, they contribute to the overall development of technology that benefits everyone.
EQL:HER is co-hosted over the three days with Inspiring African Women NPC, along with the Digital Council Africa, and WomHub.
Do not miss these important and life-changing conversations. Secure a seat at the table by registering for a free delegate pass – see below for details.
For more information, please see website here: Africa Tech Festival 2023 – The Home of AfricaCom & AfricaTech
View all ticket options for Africa Tech Festival, including start-up passes, here.
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