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Africa Tech Festival Lines-up Women in Tech to put a Spotlight on Female Trailblazers

Africa Tech Festival is a leader in championing women playing a key role in tech in Africa.

Africa Tech Festival 2023 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.

James Williams, Senior Director of Events at Connecting Africa and Informa Tech in a press statement said, “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.” “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.”

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.


ALSO READ: CHALLENGES FACED BY FEMALE FOUNDERS IN THE STARTUP WORLD


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, Amelie Ebongue, Global Brand Marketing Manager, and Author of Generation TikTok.

Ebongue will also champion several other important discussions at ATF this year, including a look at what is beyond streaming, leveraging performance marketing to grow startups, and what’s in store for Web 3.0.

Several other women-focused sessions will happen at the festival including the AfricaTech Centre stage which will be an opportunity to engage with successful women tech leaders through a panel discussion: Empowering Voices: Women Leading the Tech Revolution in Africa. The 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.

Additional features during the Africa Tech Festival will be dedicated to putting 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 recognizing the top 50 women who are making significant strides in tech careers across Africa. Whilst waiting for the 50 winners to be unveiled during a celebratory gala dinner which will be held on Nov. 13 at the Mount Nelson hotel.

During the festival 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.

Funke Opeke, CEO of MainOne, said, “Africa Tech Festival is a leader in championing women playing a key role in tech in Africa.” Adding “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.”


ALSO READ: NOMINEES OF THE 2023 AFRICA TECH FESTIVAL AWARDS UNVEILED


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 underlined the statement, 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.

ALSO READ: WOMEN’S JOURNEY TO SUCCESS IN STEM AND STARTUP CULTURE

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