It’s your favorite tech blogger again. Here with some few impressions from Africa Mobile Expo 2016 in Accra. The Africa Mobile Expo (known as Mobex) is a three day event for the tech industry to showcase their products. The event also features where panel members talk about specific themes. This year’s event was about the Digital Economy.
Entering the Accra conference centre, you’re instantly surrounded by booths feature some tech companies including Pisen, MTN, Huawei and others.
I sat down through the first session which was about Mobile Money Evolution.
Session 1: Mobile Money Revolution
The session was focused on Mobile Money in Ghana. Mobile Money has really taken off in Ghana. The evolution of Mobile Money has been so fast, the Bank of Ghana is now taking the time to put in regulation to make sure it addresses some issues.
The National Communications Authority (NCA), FIDO, Bank Of Ghana and MTN had members on the panel who spoke about the advantages and regulations surrounding mobile money in Ghana.
Nothing amazing to report at this session. The moderator did ask some interesting questions like why can’t someone send MTN cash to Tigo Cash (Which is something I also would like to know). Apparently, Bank of Ghana is working on that. So I guess we’ll see.
Session 2: Engineering, Innovation and Artificial Intelligence
Because the Mobile Money session started late (Typical Ghana. Scheduled time is never really on time), there was never really break after the Money money session and we went right into the next session.
We got into conversations about GPS tracking, whether our people will actually adopt AI technology in Ghana and other talks revolving around engineering and innovation. There was also an interesting conversation on whether technology and its service is not working as advertised in Ghana because they don’t fit in our culture or whether our people are sabotaging it. (newsflash: they are!)
Dr Nana Kofi Annan, an ICT lecturer, who was on the panel was really passionate about talking about adoption of IT. He was really animated when discussing how people in operations are really sabotaging technological services. Really good session overall.
Session 3: Digitising Healthcare, The Workplace & Electronic Archiving
This session wasn’t as lively as it could have been. A member from the Ministry of Health was supposed to be on the panel. Unfortunately, he was a no show.
It was talk of digitizing health as well as Agric and other fields. I didn’t hear much of “doing” as far as digitizing and electronic archiving. Mostly idea talks. Wanted to hear more of implementation plans. Oh well.
Session 4: Leave No Innovator Behind: Why Invest in Girls & STEM Now
The session was hosted by Nana Ama Agyeman from Citi FM (who is really adorable in person)
The panel talk was about putting more girls into fields like engineering and science.
But the talk wasn’t the interesting part. The most interesting part was the Q&A session. Oh boy. Some guy basically started the whole thing off by saying he was frankly tired of the whole STEM talk and said women are actually progressing in the country. So the whole talk about STEM and other issues related to it shouldn’t really be discussed. The panel wasn’t too enthused about his contribution. Lucy Quist, CEO of Airtel, who was one of the panelist basically told the guy he’s in the wrong session. Things were a bit awkward after that.
I have no problem with this conversation. Honestly, I’m tired of being in IT meetings, surrounded by men with only one women NOT contributing to the conversation.
So that was Day 1 (technically Day 2) of Mobex 2016. I’ll be there tomorrow for the final sessions for the event.