African Innovations: Insights from Africa Tech Fest 2023

Published Nov 21, 2023


Last week, the Africa Tech Fest once again rocked Cape Town.

Technology aficionados from across the globe came to showcase their latest developments, share their knowledge and network with other like-minded individuals.

While there were many amazing events happening simultaneously, I found myself repeatedly drawn to the Africa Ignite portion of the event, which is the festival’s flagship event for tech start-ups and innovators. Amid all the guest speakers, exhibitors and visitors, once thing was certain – Africa’s tech scene is booming.

The atmosphere at Africa Ignite was bursting with the energy of entrepreneurs eager to use the opportunity to make their mark. From cutting-edge AI solutions to innovative fintech platforms and beyond, each start-up had a story to tell. There was an impressive array of a diversity of ideas, with passion behind them. It wasn’t just about technology; it was about solving real-world problems unique to Africa.

Some of the more seasoned techpreneurs shared invaluable insights with the up-and-comers.

Tinyiko Valoyi spoke about their experiences as well as the challenges they faced developing and launching Zulzi, one of South Africa’s first grocery delivery apps, and how they went on to become the company behind Checkers’ Sixty60, app which revolutionised on-demand shopping in South Africa.

Similarly, David Alema-Mensah shared how his app, Asaana pay, was revolutionising the digital banking industry across the continent.

The guest speakers consisted of a mix of seasoned tech veterans and rising stars, providing valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s tech landscape. They discussed the importance of fostering a culture of innovation and the need for investment in tech start-ups to nurture the next generation of African tech talent.

Networking was also a key component of the event, with many of those in attendance forming collaborations that could shape the future of technology in Africa. There was a tangible sense of unity and shared purpose that transcended borders.

Beyond the start-ups, established tech companies had a significant presence. They were scouting for potential investments and offering mentorship and support to the new wave of African tech entrepreneurs. The symbiosis between the new and the established is a testament to the evolving ecosystem that supports and drives growth in the tech sector.

What’s evident is that Africa is not just participating in the global tech revolution; it’s leading in its own right. The innovations showcased at Africa Ignite were not just adaptations of Western technology but original solutions tailored to the African context. This is the crux of what makes the continent’s tech scene exciting and vibrant.

As the Africa Tech Fest wrapped up, I left with a renewed sense of optimism about the future of technology in Africa. The continent is brimming with talent and ingenuity, ready to tackle global challenges with home-grown solutions. The event was not just a display of what is happening in African tech today; it was a glimpse into a future where Africa leads the way in technological innovation.

The Africa Tech Fest, particularly Africa Ignite, served as a powerful reminder of the potential in Africa’s tech industry. It showcased the accomplishments and boundless possibilities that lie ahead.

If you are an up-and-coming techpreneur, whether your project is in the idea or development stage, now is the time to make your mark.

As the world watches, Africa is steadily carving out its place as a major player in the global tech arena, and you can be a part of that future!

Joel Moodley. With more than 20 years of experience as a techpreneur and digital solutions strategist, Joel harbours a deep passion for all things tech related, including the evolving world of AI.