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EVENTS

West Africa Com

West Africa Com: Bridging the digital divide The West African digital economy will come under scrutiny at the West Africa Com trade show this July. The conference and exhibition will provide a focal point for the region’s booming tech and mobiles industry, which is forecast to continue growing, and even accelerate, in the years ahead. West Africa Com will take place in Dakar, Senegal. (Photo: Jeff Attaway/wikimediacommons)

EMAND FOR NEW technology is expected to soar in leading markets such as Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast, as operators roll out new services and expand local infrastructure. West Africa Com — which takes place in the Senegalese capital, Dakar — is a major showcase that will bring together leading thinkers and participants from across the industry. At the event, more than 300 attendees and over 40 inspiration speakers, from across the sector, including key mobile network operators, will take part in a host of important themed discussions. Among the confirmed speakers and operators at the event are Stephen Blewitt of MTN Benin and Claire Papponeau of Mauritius Telecom. Topics under the microscope include how all players can further deliver low cost broadband connectivity and digital services to more consumers and businesses across West Africa in as short a time as possible. Experts and analysts from research firms such as Ovum, will offer insights into the West African connectivity landscape, and how to spot future opportunities. There will be a focus on how regulators can work to encourage the spread of the Internet

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and the wider digital economy going forward. The stakes are high indeed. The Nigerian market alone offers a huge pool of more than 182mn people, while across the region, the potential is even greater. This is evidenced through the sustained levels of investment among the main players as they seek to capture a share of what remains a highly dynamic market. Mobile phone brand Orange recently moved into Liberia, following its acquisition of the Liberian operator Cellcom, which was finalised in April. With more than 1.6mn customers at the end of February 2017, Orange Liberia is now the leading mobile phone operator in the country in terms of customers. Yet it sees huge room for growth in a country with comparatively low mobile penetration rate, at about 70 per cent of the population. “Even in 2017, an important part of the

Experts and analysts from research firms such as Ovum will also offer insight into the West African connectivity landscape

Liberian population is still waiting for basic telecom services,” said Mamadou Coulibaly, Orange Liberia’s chief executive. The company plans to accelerate broadband deployment and expand 4G penetration across the country in order to offer more services and increasingly sophisticated products. Another theme of the West Africa Com showcase will be uniting the West African Francophone and Anglophone technology, media, and telecoms markets by bringing together key figures from both sides, and beyond. Also under discussion will be cyber security, customer management and the customer experience, plus integration of social media. The event is well supported too. Among the sponsors of the event are Sonatel, Intelsat and a host of other telecom, technology and communications companies. And, at the end of the first day, the West Africa Com awards ceremony will take place. For all those looking to make an impact in this dynamic sector, in what remains high impact, high potential region, there is only place to be in July. ✆

West Africa Com takes place at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dakar Sea Plaza, Dakar, Senegal on 11-12 July 2017.

Communications Africa Issue 3 2017

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Communications Africa Issue 3 2017  
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