Africa is ready to own its narrative in the global technology story. This was the clear message on the first day of GITEX Africa, the continent’s largest business and tech conference, taking place in Marrakesh, Morocco. 

Aziz Akhannouch, the Moroccan Head of Government, inaugurated the debut edition of GITEX Africa as influential role players from the global and African tech ecosystem converged for the first time to discuss digital transformation in the world’s rising innovation economy. 

West Africa shines at GITEX Africa

Akhannouch welcomed 900 exhibitors and start-ups, 250 leading investors, 250 conference speakers, and 30 ministerial delegations while attracting tens of thousands of attendees from 120 countries.

West Africa made a strong impression at the conference thanks to Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who delivered an inspirational message to his fellow African leaders and role players. 

“The fact that this conference has been brought to Africa is a testament to the continent’s growing importance in the global technology and start-up ecosystem,” Sanwo-Olu. “Africa is on an accelerated path to becoming the next Silicone Valley. The tech-enabled sector in Nigeria is experiencing unprecedented growth with record investments and expansion.”

Sanwo-Olu words captured the sense of optimism and belief wafting through the halls of GITEX Africa among the thousands of VIP delegates, speakers and media. In 2020, African start-ups attracted investment of $1.3 billion, rising to up to $4 billion in 2022, Sanwo-Olu explained.

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Credit: @jidesanwoolu

Sanwo-Olu pays homage to Africa’s youth

The Lagos Governor, who is serving his second term, paid particular attention to Africa’s youth under 25, who make 60% of the continent’s population. “Our people are one of the strongest catalysts for development in the last 3 to 4 years. This is a significant opportunity for growth and development in the technology industry. According to reports by Partech Africa, Africa has 40% growth in tech start-ups in the last 2 years. We’ve seen over 600 of them across the continent. The majority of first-time tech founders are under 35.”

Akhannouch echoed Sanwo-Olu’s comments and optimism about the continent’s future in tech. “Africa has increasingly worked to consolidate its position as a dynamic environment that supports innovation, and in this regard, GITEX Africa is an occasion to highlight the promising potential of the African continent and its accelerated efforts in developing talents and skills in the fields of technology and innovation.”

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