Speaking at Moonshot by TechCabal, CEO of Big Cabal Media, Tomiwa Aladekomo explained the thinking behind the event and why it’s critical to bring together the important players in Africa’s tech ecosystem.
Here’s a question: How do you build a global launch pad for innovation in Africa? The answer is bringing together all the relevant stakeholders in Africa’s tech ecosystem, said Tomiwa Aladekomo, CEO of Big Cabal Media, in his opening address at the maiden edition of Moonshot by TechCabal conference in October.
The two-day event played host to over 2,000 founders, business leaders, innovators, venture capitalists, and regulators from around the world. Conversations at the event centered on five content tracks: the future of commerce, Big Tech and enterprise, emerging tech, startup festival, and the creative economy.
“We believe that there is value in bringing together some of the brightest thinkers and brightest regulators together to share ideas that can drive the ecosystem forward,” Aladekomo said in his speech
By definition, a “moonshot” refers to a lofty goal. Relating to the African context, Aladekomo explained that the word represents a monumental effort to build radical or innovative solutions to huge problems in the continent. This, according to him, is the central idea of the conference.
“It isn’t just networking,” he said. “It is the opportunity to talk to people who are passionate about solving problems.”
In the last decade, Africa’s tech ecosystem has witnessed incredible growth evidenced by the rise of unicorn startups, billions of dollars in venture funding flowing into the ecosystem, and milestone deals like BioNtech’s $682 million acquisition of Tunisian AI startup Instadeep earlier this year. But, despite these wins, Africa still faces real challenges including a rapidly growing population that is undereducated and under-resourced, and more disturbingly, a brain drain wave that has seen young people leave the continent in droves in search of opportunities on foreign soil.
For Aladekomo, there is still huge optimism about how important technology has become for the future of the continent. Africa is witnessing a steady increase in the adoption and use of technology, with innovative startups and established tech companies driving growth in various sectors.
“We see technology as a critical tool in solving Africa’s problems. It isn’t the only one, but it is the most potent,” he said.
While Moonshot by TechCabal serves as an avenue to share innovation and the endless possibilities of technology, it is also an opportunity to showcase Lagos as one of the important centres of technology in Africa. The Yaba district of Lagos is often credited as the foundation of the Nigerian tech ecosystem. Today, Lagos is home to a number of successful tech startups on the continent as well as an attractive tech hub. Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy, Bosun Tijani—who also spoke at the event—played a critical part in that evolution through Co-Creation Hub, Nigeria’s pioneering open-living lab and pre-incubation space.