GovChat founder among four tech heads who’ll speak at WEF startups event today

Featured image: GovChat founder and CEO Eldrid Jordaan (Supplied, Neil Burton)

Pretoria-based citizen engagement platform GovChat is among four startups that have been invited to participate at a World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa’s startups pre-event that takes place this afternoon in Cape Town.

The startup’s founder and CEO Eldrid Jordaan (pictured above) will form part of a panel discussion at the event that runs from 4.45pm at The Westin hotel.

The event comes ahead of the 28th World Economic Forum on Africa which starts tomorrow (4 September) and ends on Friday (6 September) at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC2).

The 28th World Economic Forum on Africa will take place between 4 and 6 September

Jordaan will be joined at the event by Koko Networks co-founder and CEO Greg Murray, BitPesa co-founder and executive director Charlene Chen, Carbon Tech (formerly Paylater) CEO and co-founder Chijoke Dozie.

The session will kick off with a panel discussion — moderated by Street Capital managing partner Iyinoluwa Aboyeji — and will be followed by discussion breakouts.

The four are expected to tackle a number of issues, such as how the African Free Continental Trade Area (AfCFTA) can stimulate innovation, partnerships with large corporates and government, challenges in securing follow on funding and gaps in sourcing human capital.

Jordaan said in a statement yesterday (2 September) that he was “honoured and humbled” to be given a platform to share the lessons he’s learned in running his business.

“Research has shown that Africa boasts the highest rate of total early-stage entrepreneurial activity, but also similarly, has the highest rate of business discontinuance,” remarked Jordaan.

He pointed out that the reasons cited for the latter almost always include a lack of capital and or profitability, as well as bureaucracy.

“So, from this, we can see that the focus on the development of entrepreneurs is great, but similarly, we also see the need to shift our mindset to focus on the scale and sustainability of these businesses,” he said.

Other startup related sessions to look out for at the forum include:

Africa’s Innovators of the Year (4 September, 12pm): In this session, some of the region’s top wealth creators will discuss the state of entrepreneurship and what lies ahead.

Speakers include Janngo CEO and founder Fatoumata Ba, Quartz journalist Chika Uwazie, Quartz Africa editor Yinka Adegoke, mPedigree predident Bright Simons.

From startups to scaleups (4 September, 1.15pm): Economies in sub-Saharan Africa are typically characterised by small businesses, which have limited capacity to generate jobs or boost livelihoods. How can leaders enable an entrepreneurial ecosystem at scale?

Speakers include Janngo CEO and founder Fatoumata Ba, Street Capital managing partner Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, SA Minister of Communications, Telecommunications and Postal Services Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Mastercard Southern Africa division president Mark Elliott, Wall Street Journal Africa deputy bureau chief Gabriele Steinhauser and Accenture country managing director Vukani Mngxati.

Africa growth platform (4 September, 2.15pm): The launch of the Africa Growth Platform which aims to transform the prospects of the continent’s entrepreneurs.

Unleashing the drone economy (4 September, 5.45pm): While unmanned vehicles offer new opportunities to sectors ranging from health to agriculture to trade, 74% of African countries are not developing the necessary enabling regulations. How can the drone economy be unleashed for the public good?

Speakers include Zipline International general counsel Conor French, International Civil Aviation Organisation regional director Eastern and Southern Africa office Barry Kashambo, WEF drones and tomorrow’s airspace portfolio head Timothy Reurer, head of JDX R&D Centre Cheng Hui, SAP Africa managing director Catherine Smith and UN World Food Programme operations services assistant executive director Valerie Guarnieri.

Is data Africa’s new oil? (5 September, 9am): Artificial intelligence’s (AI) contribution to the global economy is predicted to reach almost $16 trillion by 2030. With the global volume of data expected to quadruple by 2025, how can Africans seize the opportunity? The session will cover harnessing the power of big data, balancing data sharing and data privacy as well as ensuring secure data storage.

Speakers include Hepta Analytics co-founder and head of goespatial technologies Slyvia Makario, AT Kearney managing partner and chairman Alex Liu, Data Prophet co-founder and CEO Frans Cronje, Deutsche Welle news anchor Edith Kimani, WEF managing director and head for the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Global Network Murat Sönmez.

Johnson & Johnson Africa Innovation Challenge (5 September, 9.30am): Johnson & Johnson will announce the winners of the Africa Innovation Challenge 2.0. The six winners offer entrepreneurial approaches to major healthcare priorities in communities across Africa.

The retail revolution (5 September, 1.30pm): Although online marketplaces could generate three million new jobs in Africa by 2025, many challenges remain for ecommerce startups, from securing the physical infrastructure to recruiting trained workers. How can these shortcomings be addressed for the benefit of socio-economic growth?

Speakers include International Trade Centre executive director Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Trade Ann Linde, UN Conference on Trade and Development secretary general Mukhisa Kituyi, Wez Art founder and CEO Sihlesenkosi Majola, Alibaba Group global initiatives vice president Brian A Wong and Procter and Gamble SA Southern Africa vice president Viliam Trska.

Read more: WEF’s Africa Growth Platform to help African startups compete in global markets
Read more:
 SA startup GovChat announces it’s secured investment facility of up to R20m

Featured image: GovChat founder and CEO Eldrid Jordaan (Supplied, Neil Burton)

Daniel Mpala


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