Africa Mobile and ICT Expo 2017 #MOBEX17

Africa Mobile and ICT Expo 2017 #MOBEX17

The 2017 edition of the Africa Mobile and ICT Expo (MOBEX), held at the Kempinski Hotel, in Accra was a two-day event which officially kicked off on M

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The 2017 edition of the Africa Mobile and ICT Expo (MOBEX), held at the Kempinski Hotel, in Accra was a two-day event which officially kicked off on Monday, October 16th, 2017, themed: THINK, BUILD, SELL. This third edition brought together the finest technological innovations and solutions in the country, with series of intriguing, educating and exciting panel discussions.

This event showcased products and services from Computer Hardware & Software, IT & Technology industries, and providing opportunity for networking with investors, policy makers and implementers, as well as consumers of products and services.

The Chief Executive Officer of Coasters Company Limited (organizers of the event), George Spencer Quaye, said the event was a conversation on technology aiming to provide solutions to some of our societal challenges. He said technology has formed part of every country’s socio-economic development and has become the center of all the pillars of growth in the society. He mentioned that, businesses today without the culture of technology and appreciating its role cannot drive our economy to the desired level of development.

On behalf of government, Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, was present at the opening of the event. He mentioned that over the past few years MOBEX has served as a vehicle of Ghana’s own ICT transformation and has propelled Ghana’s digital economy. He said the development of ICT was characterized by the significant inflows of investment entry and requires maximum attention from all stakeholders, and that government has been proactively reforming and strengthening the environment of doing business in Ghana, such as the automation of ticketing at the Kotoka International Airport, online business registration, e- parliament, e-cabinet system, and the introduction of the paperless system at the ports.
The deputy minister advised young innovators to take the opportunity and capitalize on the National Entrepreneurship Programme of the Ministry of Business Development with a fund of $10 million.

The opening day of the event saw a panel discussions about the commercialization of local solutions. Panelists included Estelle Akofio-Sowah of Google Ghana (Now CSquared), Jason Njoku of iRoko TV and the keynote speaker for the occasion, and Eyram Tawia of Leti Arts.

CEO of Websoft, Godwin Martey amongst other panelists including Ethel Cofie, founder, EDEL Technology, also featured in discussions about Digital Innovation which was highlighted with much great stage presence.

The first day ended with panel discussions including Mobile Banking and Financial Inclusion, which featured Farida Bedwei, Co-founder and CTO of Logiciel (Ghana) Ltd, Revenue Assurance and fraud management, and a demonstration of Security by ISA. Farida stated that without enough literacy and education, Fintech implementation becomes difficult.

Day 2 of MOBEX17 kicked off Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Design Thinking discussions, as panelists talked about using Design Thinking to solve problems in our society. Panelists also discussed Big Data and that Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are all possible in the Ghanaian context. Thus, ideas should have local relevance and global opportunity.
The Executive Director of the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana, during the interactive session was concerned about how difficult it is for scalability of tech products in Ghana. Ehizogie Binitie, Founder/CEO of Clearspace Labs, responded that scaling is less of creativity but more of processes, structures and business models.

Other discussions were Cybersecurity management practices for SMEs, with Mrs Veronica Boateng, board member of the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana, and ICT Applications Director, NITA, and other panelists. E-Health, Education and Agriculture was also discussed, and the Internet Superhighway which featured a presentation from MainOne.

ISACA Ghana Chapter also had their turn discussing Information Security and Cloud computing. On the panel was Carl Sackey of GCNET, and a host of experts from Ecobank. It was noted that top 3 cyber threats facing organizations in 2016 were Social Engineering 52%, Insider Threats 40%, and Advanced Persistent Threat 39%. The panel clarified that as Information Security is more of human actions and controls, policies for proactive measures are needed.

MOBEX17 wasn’t all about panel discussions. Exhibitors had their stands showcasing their products and services including AlexPay (new in the Fintech space) and the Mazzuma App which expects to disrupt the Mobile Money Market with its App. ALEXPAY is a mobile payment and billing solution that integrates with the multiple mobile telcos and the banking networks in Ghana.

Leti Arts was also in the stands showcasing 3D printers, robots and of course the gamers including Eyram Tawia, amongst a host of many young tech entrepreneurs.

Students were not left out. Lancaster University students were present to participate. In a conversation with one student on the first day of the event, he expected to strike an internship arrangement with any of the many tech organizations present.

What was missing at the event was stakeholder participation. It would have been a double packed event to have some key players from the telecom industry like MTN, Vodafone, tiGO and specific officials from the government present to take part in some of the discussions especially as they have a big part to play in the industry.

MOBEX is a great event for connecting with several players in the industry. It was filled with wonderful innovations and exhibitions and impressively by young entrepreneurs. The event was supported by the Ghana Think Foundation as well as some other organizations including Ecobank, MainOne, Subah, and GCNET.

Members of the Institute of ICT Professionals at the event, with Mrs Veronica Boateng (5th from left).