Technology’s growing role in Africa will be one of the topics under spotlight in this year’s Techonomy conference at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain Resort near Tucson, Arizona. Techonomy, an annual invitation only conference which focuses on the role of technology in business, economics and society creates a unique context for dialogue with a wide range of thinkers from business, tech, government, science and academia.
Titled “Africa: The Final Frontier,” the conference’s Africa panel will provide a forum to discuss in its words, the continent’s “paradigm shifting growth” and what it means for both the future of the continent and the world.
With over a billion people, 12 million square miles and seven out of ten of the world’s fastest growing economies, Africa is poised for paradigm-shifting growth. Mobile technology has become the continent’s top economic force, laying the groundwork for economic opportunity and connectivity. The people are ready. Is the world?
Moderator: James Manyika, McKinsey
James Manyika is a Director (Senior Partner) at McKinsey & Company. He is one of the leaders of McKinsey’s High Tech, Media and Telecom Practice where he serves many of the leading companies. James is also Director of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the Firm’s business and economics research arm. At MGI, James has led research on areas including, growth, productivity, competitiveness, and technology and its impact. Much of this work has appeared in journals, books and the op-ed pages of leading newspapers and business publications and he has spoken at various global technology, business and policy forums and on radio and television.
Bhaskar Chakravorti, Senior Associate Dean for International Business and Finance, Tufts University
Bhaskar Chakravorti is Senior Associate Dean at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, the founding Executive Director of Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context and Professor of the Practice of International Business. A former Partner of McKinsey, Distinguished Scholar at MIT and Harvard Business School faculty, he was a leader of McKinsey’s Innovation and Global Forces practices and taught innovation and entrepreneurship at Harvard. In a 20+ year career, he has advised over 30 companies in the Fortune 500 and worked across multiple geographies: the Americas, EU, Asia and Africa.
Tokunboh Ishmael, Co-founder and Managing Director, Alitheia Capital
Tokunboh Ishmael has over 20 years experience spanning investment banking, private equity investing, technology and new business development in the USA, Europe and Africa. She is a co-founder and managing director of Alitheia Capital (www.thealitheia.com), an investment management and advisory firm focused on channeling private equity investments into businesses to enhance access to finance, energy and housing for small and growing businesses, and low-income households. Alitheia is one of the firms pioneering the concept of making investments for positive financial, social and environmental impact – Impact Investing – in Nigeria. Alitheia’s investments include businesses that enable the provision of financial services to the unbanked and under-banked through traditional and branchless banking models; provision of affordable and clean cooking fuel and cook-stoves to low income households in order to alleviate the use of traditional fuels associated with in-door air pollution, and deforestation; and the construction of affordable school infrastructure with pre-fabricated panels produced using only locally available materials.
Nmachi Jidenma, Founder, CP-Africa
Nmachi Jidenma is Founder of Celebrating Progress Africa (CP-Africa), Africa’s leading online publication for progressive news. CP-Africa chronicles Africa’s business and technology progress, providing a platform for sharing news on African startups, technologists, and business leaders. Her previous roles include working as Google Africa’s Outreach Manager for Google+. In this role, she led projects focused on increasing user engagement and adoption of the platform by young people. She also worked as the Sub-Saharan Africa Coordinator of a Google initiative aimed at catalyzing Internet and technology usage in African universities through the provision of wi-fi access, technical consulting, and training. She was previously the Africa Editor of The Next Web, one of the world’s most influential technology websites, building out the website’s coverage of Africa’s technology startups and its burgeoning tech ecosystem. Prior to The Next Web, she worked at JP Morgan’s Technology Media & Telecoms Debt Capital Markets Group as well as at Technoserve, a development consulting firm where she worked on various Africa focused development projects.
Hannes van Rensburg, Chief Executive Officer, Fundamo, Visa Inc.
Hannes van Rensburg is the CEO and Founder of Fundamo, the leading supplier of technology for mobile banking and payment deployments. With clients on four continents and offices in Cape Town and Singapore, Fundamo technology runs millions of transactions each month. He is the author of a widely read blog on mobile banking and an active participant in mobile banking conferences. Having launched the first mobile banking solution in 1999, Hannes is often seen as the pioneer of mobile banking. Before Fundamo, he held executive positions in large financial services companies, as well as being a co-founder of a very successful technology start-up company. He consulted at some of Africa’s largest corporations (including Banks, Telco’s and Retailers).
Gary Rieschel, Founder, Qiming Venture Partners
Gary E. Rieschel is a Co-Founder and Managing Director at Qiming Weichuang Venture Capital Management (Shanghai) Company Limited. Mr. Rieschel is based in Shanghai. He also serves as the Executive Managing Director at Ignition Partners and has over 25 years of operating and investing experience in the information technology industry. Most recently, Mr. Rieschel founded SOFTBANK Venture Capital/Mobius Venture Capital in the U.S., where he served as a Managing Director and invested in over 50 technology companies. Mr. Rieschel has also sponsored the creation of several other top venture firms, including Ignition Partners (partners in Qiming); Grandbanks Capital; and Arrowpath in the U.S.; and SOFTBANK Asia Infrastructure Fund I/II (SAIF Partners) in China.
Other topics under spotlight in this year’s conference include The End of Offline, Making Sense of a Changing China and the Intersection of Data and Dollars among others.
Interested CP-Africa readers can follow this year’s conference proceedings on Twitter via the Hashtag, #techonomy12.