The city of Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo will host the first Central Africa ICT Summit – CACTUS 2017, a two-day conference that hopes to push for further development of the ICT space in Central Africa, a region lagging behind the rest of the continent in terms of investment and access to ICTs.
The conference, which will be held on the 29th and 30th of June at the Radisson Blu M'Bamou Palace Hotel in Brazzaville, aims to bring together major ICT infrastructure vendors, learning institutions, system integrators, business enterprises and potential investors spark conversations that will stimulate growth through investing in ICT4D programs and projects in the region.
The conference comes on the back of extensive research on the state of ICT landscape in Central Africa carried out by the Centre for Capacity Building Africa (CCB Africa), which has organized and managed several ICT Capacity building trainings in the region, identifying an increasing gap in ICT adoption and the pace of ICT development compared to other regions on the continent.
With this in mind, CACTUS 2017 aims to provide a platform for stakeholders in the Central African ICT ecosystem to participate in discussions, focusing on how information and communication technology can drive economic development in the region.
“I strongly believe that ICT is a vital catalyst to the key pillars of Africa's economies, for instance in agriculture, mining and energy products and trade", Mr Martin Kinuthia, the Managing Director of CCB Africa, says.
"Technology, and indeed ICT, has a key role to play in these sectors for future learning and betterment of strategic programs initiated in Central Africa. The ICT infrastructure is in need of investment, policy and regulation, and capacity development in order to support the expected huge contribution of ICT to development."
The conference's focus will be on how ICT4D can bridge the digital divide – the disparity between technological "haves" and "have-nots" in terms of geographic locations and demographic groups – and how to push economic development forward by ensuring equitable access to data in order to inform development projects in the region.
In order to further advance this agenda, the conference will look to push forward on ICT adoption through collaborative engagement in the implementation of the outcomes of the conference and other major strategic plans on development of ICT sector while addressing the fast-moving and emerging technology and security challenges.
The conference will have a number of breakout sessions, with the keynote and breakout sessions featuring case studies of initiatives in neighbouring countries, as well as showcases of best practices involving ICT in education, research, projects and programs.