Connected Africa Forum scheduled for May in Jo’burg

The Connected Africa Forum, which incorporates mobile money, mobile health and mobile agriculture, is slated for May 14 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The 4-day event is expected to showcase evolution of mobile lifeline services and applications within the continent as well as bring together mobile community at the heart of socio-economic development in Africa, to leverage the mobile infrastructure towards increasing social and financial inclusions.

Connected Africa Forum said it is set for the first time ever to bring together major decision makers across banking institutions, mobile network operators, agricultural organisations, third party operators, NGOs, social media, online retailers as well as payment solution providers.

Connected Africa Forum director Sonum Puri said mobile money was the pioneering technology in the mobile technology industry which has since expanded to more mobile lifeline services to include various sectors thus prompting the need to bring all the stakeholders together under one roof.

Puri said South Africa is not only a competitive mobile money market, but is a good representation of the different business models that are transpiring from the different stakeholders in the industry.

Africa has noted tremendous technology changes in the mobile phone industry including Safaricom’s mobile money product called M-Pesa, hailed for its successes in money transfer within East Africa.

“Mobile health is the next big area. We have several projects that Safaricom is involved in that are very exciting; from an M-Health perspective we have the hangamka health card that uses technology to improve access to affordable quality healthcare through a medisave initiative,” said Betty Mwangi-Thuo, Safaricom’s Chief Officer of the New Products Division.

“However, what surprises me is the speed with which customers embrace these changes and adapt,” she said.

“The continent as a whole has proven that it is ready to embrace mobile technology, given the astronomical uptake of mobile technology and utility in numerous industries, ranging from agriculture, to education and health,” said Soulstice Consulting managing director, Mustapha Zaouini.

Soulstice Consulting is a South African company that is finding a ready market in Africa with its integrator platforms for the mobile money industry. It currently assists MTN Swazi and Mascom in launching Mobile Money in Swaziland and Botswana respectively.

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