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Gearing Mozambique's ICT sector to spread benefits of the national economic boom

“Mozambique’s ICT sector needs to rise to the rapidly escalating management demands of its dramatically expanding economy.” This is the challenge posed to the country’s ICT suppliers and professionals by Sean Moroney, Chairman of AITEC Africa, which is organising the Southern Africa ICT Summit in Maputo over 5-6 December. The Summit will be held under the auspices of the Mozambique Ministry of Science & Technology. Lead sponsors of the event are Vodacom and Business Connexion.

“Forecasters say 2012 is going to be a turning point in the Mozambican economy now that it has become a major minerals exporter. The positive knock-on effects from the new and rapidly expanding extractive industries can be multiplied if all sectors, including government, are well managed, and effective IT and communication systems have a crucial role to play in achieving this,” said Moroney, in Maputo this week to meet with ICT industry stakeholders to plan the Summit. “The Southern African ICT Summit has a vital role to play in gathering ICT professionals from all sectors across the country to share knowledge and experience, identify current best practice in the region and benefit from the input of local and international experts who will be making presentations, leading workshops or sharing ideas in panel discussions.”

The theme of the Summit, “Building the foundations of a total paradigm shift”, reflects the aim of leveraging on the power of effective ICT deployment to contribute to the acceleration of broader economic development in Mozambique. It also reflects the timing of the Summit to coincide with the opening of the first phase of the Mozambique National Science & Technology Park, which is an important part of the government’s strategy to develop the foundations of an information society with reduced dependency on the import of goods and services.

Commending the Mozambique government for its substantial investment in the development of the Science & Technology Park, Moroney said it reflects its “strong commitment to partnering with the private sector to achieve its economic development vision based on entrepreneurship, innovation and technology to take the national economy beyond its current dependency on extractive industries and the importation of technology and skills. The Park provides the world-class infrastructure on which world-class innovation, product development, entrepreneurship and training can be built – provided local and international investors seize the abundant opportunities that this facility presents.

“The purpose of the Summit is to highlight these opportunities, identify the priority technological needs that need to be addressed in the region and encourage small and large enterprises to take up the challenge of developing the applications, innovations and business models needed to improve the quality of life of the region’s citizens.”

The Summit will include a conference programme that covers a range of key subject areas, including:
➢    ICT Systems & Skills to build a dynamic SME sector;
➢    Building a world-class broadcasting industry as a vehicle for regional development;
➢    Digital Inclusion: Mozambican experiences and approaches;
➢    ICT development & innovation in Southern Africa: Identifying best practice;
➢    Telecommunications regulation in Southern Africa: Best practice.
➢    Infrastructure Challenges: Last mile solutions, shared infrastructure and optimising services.

Confirmed speakers include:
➢    Bill Hearmon, Chairman of the African Broadband Forum, who will speak on “Creative strategies for deployment and optimisation of broadband networks”.
➢    Mark Simpson, CEO of Seacom, and Yossi Barkan, Executive Director of PCCW Global, who will speak on international connectivity and quality of service.
➢    Barry Coetzee, CEO of iVeri, South Africa, who will speak on “Payment dynamics in developing economies”.
➢    Paulo Maculuve, Director of IT, Banco de Mozambique, who will speak on the financial integration in the SADC region.
➢    Carlos Oliveira, MD of Leadership Business Consulting, Portugal
➢    Tomas Vieira Mario, Executive Director, Sekelekani Development Communication Centre will speak on “The digital migration strategy in
     Mozambique: A critical assessment”
➢    Juha Miettinen, Chief Technical Adviser of the Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme, will moderate a session on Identifying Best Practice in ICT Development and Innovation in Southern Africa.
➢    Luci Abrahams, Director of the LINK Centre of the University of the Wiwatersrand, will lead a panel discussion on “Policy and regulatory advances in the SADC region”
➢    Adrian Schofield, Vice-Chairman of the Africa ICT Alliance and a Consultant at the Johannesburg Centre for Software Development, will speak on software development in Southern Africa.
➢    Etienne Louw, CEO of MapIT South Africa, will make a presentation on mapping for smart cities and communities.
➢    Gordon Love, Symantec Regional Director for Africa, will make a presentation on security strategies for growing enterprises.
➢    Kai Wulff, Access Field Development Director of Google from the USA, who will make a presentation calling on the ICT industry to “Share infrastructure to maximise usage and drive down costs”

Other speakers and topics are in the process of being finalised.

Attendance is free for pre-registered delegates from SADC countries. Register via the AITEC Africa

The Summit includes an exhibition of leading suppliers of ICT equipment and services and a limited number of exhibition stands are still available.