AfricaCom 2017 celebrates 20 years of Africa’s telecoms journey


AfricaCom, one of Africa’s largest technology, telecoms and media event celebrates its 20th anniversary in November this year and promises delegates and exhibitors three days of thought-provoking content and cutting-edge technology and a glimpse into what the future holds in terms of digital and its impact on life as we know it.

Taking place from 7-9 November at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), South Africa, the organisers, KNect365 promises to showcase a host of innovations in the Fintech space, e-Health, Education, Energy and Agri-tech sector.

“2017 is a landmark for AfricaCom. Over the past two decades, we have grown from being a purely telecommunications-focused event, to a broader, digital communications show now hosting the foremost group of influencers involved in every aspect of the African digital ecosystem,” explained Tom Cuthell, Portfolio Director of KNect365, the organiser of the event.

“As the digi-sphere continues to expand and impact every aspect of our personal and professional lives, AfricaCom has grown in scope to create a broad platform for everybody involved in powering the digital economy in Africa.”

The Journey

The first-ever AfricaCom in 1997, was launched in Cape Town as GSM Africa, the same year the first proposal for a regional internet registry for Africa was launched. Mapping Africa’s technology and technology journey from that time, 2001 saw the first major sub-sea cable connecting Africa.

In 2002, SAT3/WASC/SAFE cable system was inaugurated in Senegal. SAT3/WASC/SAFE was a technology and commercial breakthrough of unparalleled significance for Africa, offering a faster, more efficient trading channel between the continent and international markets. It was made possible by the participation of 36 nations, which fully funded the undersea cable system costing more than US$600 million.

In 2007 M-pesa, the mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service, was launched in Kenya and Tanzania and now reaches over 25 million customers. During 2007, wireless broadband subscribers overtook that of fixed line broadband subscribers in South Africa. 2008 saw the first mobile payment linked to a credit card, performed by the WIGROUP in South Africa, while in 2009 the first iPhone was launched on the continent.

In 2012, AfricaCom welcomed 8 000 delegates through its doors and in 2014, Namibia became the first African country to terminate analogue TV signals, with more than 3.8 million jobs being directly or indirectly attributed to the mobile industry by 2015. Now in 2017, over 167-million Africans have access to the Internet with around 300 technology hubs on the continent and AfricaCom prepares to welcome over 13 000 delegates from all corners of the world.

Enabling economic democracy

AfricaCom plays a vital role in enabling small businesses.

Entrepreneurs and small to medium enterprises across the continent, are the backbone of a healthy economic democracy.

AfricaCom has opened up new opportunities for entrepreneurs, start-ups, small businesses and companies that provide the right tools and insights to fast track their growth.


About Author

Bontle Moeng is the Founder and Managing Director of BizNis Africa. Moeng has spent 16 years working in the digital and online media industry across Africa. She applied her trade at True Love magazine prior to discovering her passion for Investment news in key sectors across Africa. Moeng previously worked for ITWeb, Starfish Mobile Technologies, ITNewsAfrica, AVATAR Agency, eNitiate, Global Interface Consulting and Havas Johannesburg. Her primary focus is to provide solid and valuable content on investment opportunities for the ICT, Energy and Mining sectors across Africa. In addition, the online news publication assists global companies to expand their presence in Africa. Email:

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