Saturday, November 10, 2012

Africa ICT growth tied to infrastructure, start-ups investment - Nairobi DEMO launch

ICT growth in Africa has been tied to infrastructure and startups investments 
The growth of the ICT sector in Africa is tied to continue investment of infrastructure in the sector, Gabriel Negatu an African Development Bank (AfDB) director has said.
Negatu who was speaking after the end of three day ICT conference which ended last Friday in KICC says such functions will make Kenya and the continent to provide a platform for the start-ups to launch their products.
He adds in such forums coders and developers meet an audience of potential investors, corporate acquirers, government dignitaries, policy makers, academia, development organizations and global media to increase their portfolios.
"The nexus between ICT and economic growth has already been established. The critical element missing is increased investment in ICT infrastructure, which can only be achieved by increased collaboration between the public and private sectors since the initial capital outlay can be prohibitive to individual investors,” said Negatu.
During the function DEMO Africa, the event organizers collaborated the remarks saying their 2009 DEMO demonstrator research study conducted by BluePoint Ventures, in the past 20 years, 22% of past demonstrators received funding within 60 days as a direct result of a DEMO launch.
Equally 92% who secured funding, did so within 9 months of DEMO with 62% receiving over $1 million in funding - mostly from venture and angel investors.
In the past five years, DEMO companies have raised over $4.5 billion dollars in the months/years following their debut at DEMO conferences like the one which just ended in Nairobi.
“This is a platform where the most innovative companies from across Africa will launch their products for the first time as they pitch for capital and strategic partnerships,” said Harry Hare, Demo Africa’s Director and the event organizer.
“We are on the edge of a technology entrepreneurial revolution which requires the participation of both the public and private sectors to take off. What we are looking at now is the making of technology billionaires in dollar terms from the continent and creating massive job opportunities as they grow,” Harry noted.
Harry Hare singled out the success of Safaricom’s Mpesa as a global example of Africa’s potential to steer innovation in the ICT sector.
The organisers said Africa has about 15% of the world’s population, but only about 2% personal computer users and such conferences seek to increase investment in technological innovation and real startups being created in Africa, developing real-world solutions, worthy of investment and global attention.
AfDB and Safaricom among others sponsored the function.
The same event will be organized in Kampala, Kigali, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg and Cape Town in different dates.
©Manuel Odeny, 2012

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