All roads will be leading to Nairobi this October to witness technology at its birth. Forty of the most innovative start-ups from across Africa will come to launch their products at the DEMO Africa stage, the first ever DEMO event in the continent.
DEMO Africa is the flagship initiative of the Liberating Innovation in Opportunity Nations in Africa (LIONS@frica) consortium whose partners include DEMO, Microsoft, InfoDEV, Nokia and US Department of State. This is the first ever Pan African technology launch pad and will be hosted by African eDevelopment Resource Centre and CIO East Africa under the auspices of Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communication.
The DEMO Africa event will be at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi from 24th to 26th October and is expected to attract venture capitalists, angel Investors, investment fund managers, technology buyers and other entrepreneurs.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Dr Bitange Ndemo said, “Kenya is very proud to host an event of the stature of DEMO, especially as it is the first one in Africa.” He said the country is becoming a natural hub for technology and innovation. “We are looking forward to share the best of Africa’s homegrown technology innovations with the rest of the world,” the PS continued. All the 40 start-ups launching products at DEMO Africa are a potential investment opportunity.
Demonstrators at DEMO US have received US$ 3.5 billion of capital in the last 5 years. For the purpose of sharing information on investment opportunities in the technology sector, a series of investor round tables have been scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Cape Town and Lagos. The round tables will provide a forum for knowledge sharing so that investors can learn more about investing in the technology sector which is attracting more foreign investors.
Other partners who have come on board for this venture include Kenya’s ICT Board, Venture Capital for Africa, Strathmore University, iHub, mLab Nairobi, mLabSouth Africa among others. DEMO Africa has already attracted sponsorship from some of the industry top players including Microsoft and Nokia and invites other companies to support the showcase event in October.
Microsoft’s Developer Platform Manager for East and Southern Africa, Vincent Mugambi says “Building the right partnerships that will give Africa a competitive advantage is a huge focus for us – and a shared passion amongst the DEMO partners. Microsoft’s investment in this is a natural extension of our work to help accelerate the success of entrepreneurs and start-ups on this continent, and to provide promising young African developers and innovators access to technology tools, skills and resources they need to realize their full potential.”
Microsoft believes their participation in DEMO Africa is in line with their corporate citizenship efforts to use technology to benefit communities all over the world and call on more firms to join in the venture that will showcase innovations from Africa that will revolutionize the globe.
“Nokia has a long history on the continent and is one of Africa’s most loved brands,” says Bruce Howe, General Manager for Nokia East Africa. “Our strength lies in our local presence which has resulted in deep consumer insights, strong local partnerships and the ability to ignite the local innovation ecosystem. DEMO Africa is the perfect showcase for this innovation, and we are extremely proud to be a partner of this initiative and to be able to highlight our ongoing commitment to enabling the local ecosystem and adding value to our consumers.”
Mr. Harry Hare, Event Producer, DEMO Africa thanked all partners from LIONS@frica including US State, USAID, Microsoft, Nokia, VC4Africa, other sponsors and the Kenyan ICT board for their support which he said has been and continues to be crucial.
“We will maintain the success of this global launch pad and to showcase the freshest most innovative game changing technology products from the entire African continent,” Hare concluded.