African tech startups stirring global backing

US President Barack Obama touted the federal government’s support to the United States’ tech industry last week Thursday. Obama cited the government’s infrastructural support that helped grow Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

Although Obama in his speech was exclusively American, it affects African tech innovators, investors and several international functions, including DEMO conferences, eyeing Africa.

DEMO Conferences are technology conferences for launching innovative startups in enterprise, mobile, cloud computing, consumer, social media and disruptive technologies.

Speaking at the launch of DEMO Africa in Nairobi last week Friday, senior vice president DEMO Neal Silverman said Africa is emerging as a hotbed for technology and innovation, and DEMO Africa 2012 is a great platform for them even when Africa has only 6.2 percent Internet users.

The African tech innovators are set to gain from a partnership formed at the just ended World Economic Forum (WEF) in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. At the WEF ,the US Department of State partnered with Microsoft, Nokia, African Development Bank, USAID, the Global Entrepreneurship Week, Startup Weekend and Demo to build up African tech startups through founding the now few days old Liberalizing Innovation Opportunity Nations (LIONS@FRICA).

The Liberalizing Innovation Opportunity Nations (LIONS@FRICA) is modelled after the Startup America and seeks to rally for the support of African startups and foster startup creation on the continent and therefore leading to economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. LIONS@FRICA will introduce the first ever DEMO Africa Conference to inspire and challenge young African innovators and entrepreneurs exposing them to the global innovation scene.

This partnership shows the US Department of State’s recognition of Africa’s economic emergence and move to strengthen the startup and innovation ecosystems of some identified steadily growing African economies through the DEMO African conferences.

The Demo Conferences are supported by IDG an international tech network owning international brands like CIO, ComputerWorld and several other investments in the US. The Silicon Valley and giants like Facebook, Google and Microsoft drive the African Tech Scene.

The African tech scene is steaming with several tech hubs producing innovators who have applications to international recognition like M-Pesa, Ushahidi, PesaPal and several other apps in education, health and agriculture.

DEMO Africa 2012, says Silverman, allows for a collaborative environment where leading minds and companies from African nations can come together to gain exposure on a global level.

The first DEMO Africa conference will be held in October 24-26, 2012 at the InterContinental Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya for both new startups and established companies with new projects.

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