Plenary Sessions & Key Participants
By convening a unique mix of innovative people from diverse entrepreneurial sectors in the region, the East African Business & Entrepreneurship Conference & Exhibition provides a platform for creative thinking “out of the box” on innovative strategies to attract investment in to the EAC.
High-level government decision makers, top business executives, industry experts, academia, entrepreneurs, international investors and top-notch financial institutions from Africa and beyond are expected to engage in informative plenary sessions on:
- The 4th Industrial Revolution – insights from the World Economic Forum in Davos and what it means for the Industrialization Strategy in East Africa
- The private sector perspective: Challenges and opportunities arising from industrialization 4.0 in East Africa
- Governments going digital: “e-government, block chain, trade in services ”
- Disruptive technology vs. old-school governance – Positioning East Africa as a digital economy
- Digital infrastructure – connect the unconnected
- Connectivity and hardware – constituent stepping stones to partake in the 4th industrial revolution
Sector Sessions Highlights
The conference sector sessions aim to highlight different opportunities and create a common understanding of future environmental and regulatory requirements for East Africa in the global context in order to pave the way for modern and innovative business models.
ICT: e-services and Internet of Things
It is widely said, that Africa has “skipped the analogue age”. e-health, e-government, e-agriculture more and more areas of life and business go digital and services can be provided at almost zero marginal cost. This is the core of the 4th Industrial revolution and therein lies a great potential for accessibility of services, especially in remote areas. In addition to that, the devices themselves become smarter, reduce the need for logistics and help to compensate the lack of physical infrastructure. The session will identify the greatest technical, regulatory and financial barriers that still hinder a free and prosperous flow of communication services, automated manufacturing, smart apps and devices (Internet of Things), embedded systems, teleconferencing, tracking systems and security.
Target group: Software-, app-developers, mobile service providers, online-businesses, government authorities with new ICT-applications, other service providers (insurance, finance, logistics, manufacturing, medical, innovation centers, research institutes, labs and Universities, Ministries of Communication, Technology, Education.
Agri-Business: From subsistence to smart farming – East Africa’s potential for disruptive change
The agriculture sector in East Africa faces main challenges of low productivity, inadequate infrastructure and a poorly integrated market. The lack of appropriate storage and processing capacity causes massive post-harvest losses and only little value adding. New technologies, ease access to information and ways of marketing help not only to make the sector more attractive to the younger generation but also to increase efficiency and profitability. Only with a true paradigm shift from subsistence agriculture to agri-processing and agri-business, East Africa can harvest the full potential of its’ natural recourses and labor force as well as create and strengthen local value chains across borders.
Target group: Agribusiness experts, Ministries of Agriculture, Regional bodies on farming, International bodies responsible for Agriculture (FAO), Food security experts, Food Manufacturers, Development Partners dealing with agriculture and agribusiness, agro processors, Food boards, Ministries of Trade
Fintech has become incredibly important for all kinds of business activities in East Africa. Much of the digital innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa is being driven by the extend of mobile phone usage, which is providing a range of alternative payment, lending and savings services that are helping to boost financial inclusion. This session will demonstrate the achievements and highlight the challenges for regional businesses and the banking sector alike and what changes need to be tackled in order to ease the flow of money across borders.
Target Group: fin tech providers, banks and financing institutions, Insurances, Telecommunication Companies
Health - Increase access to health through medical entrepreneurship
New technologies, smart devices and mobile applications make medical services accessible even in remote rural areas. This session identifies the missing nexus and policy links at EAC level in order to allow increased access to health and look at portability of insurances, free movement of qualified labor, harmonized quality standards, procedures, pharmaceuticals and medicines.
Target Group: private health care providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, Ministries of Health, Research Institutions, NGOs.
Mobility: Virtual and Physical Connectivity, Transport and Logistics
The EAC Common Market protocol at its core is about ‘free movement’. Free movement of people, goods, labor and services. The major trend in the 4th Industrial Revolution is digitalization. Good internet access thus is a basic requirement for an easy flow of communication, information, money, services and even goods. The EAC has identified several corridors and continues to improve the infrastructure to enable faster and safer transport, this opens up huge opportunities for logistics companies. The session will give tangible examples of the advantages of unlimited mobility and will focus on the obstacles that have to be removed in order to achieve that open shared market space. It will also demonstrate exceptional cases of high tech logistic solutions (e.g. drones and air taxis)
Target Group: Telecommunication Companies, network suppliers and other service providers, transport and logistics, Regulative bodies, aviation authorities, clearing agents, delivery service providers, postal corporations, start-ups, entrepreneurs, online- and mobile-service providers, trade platforms, marketing agencies.
Most of the discussed areas on this conference have one thing in common – they require energy supply. Lack of constant, reliable and affordable energy has until today been a major obstacle to development in East Africa. In the digital age, the need for power/electricity supply chain automatically results in new requirements for a suitable and sustainable infrastructure. Decentralized electricity production, renewable sources, improved energy efficiency and smart devices open up huge opportunities for the private sector to develop and invest in innovations.
EAC Partner States have taken first steps to incentivize private initiative and investment in energy generation and supply through net metering and mini-grid licenses.
The session will highlight the potential of new technologies and private initiatives and investment to respond to the energy challenge that holds the regional development back. At the same time it will identify the key regulatory areas that need to be liberalized in order to ease investment and speed up the electrification process.
Target group: Renewable Energy Companies and start-ups, tech suppliers, grid operators, national energy regulators, Ministries of Energy, utilities, minigridoperators.
With the growing integration of the Common East African market, companies all over the region are looking for ways to widen their market reach and become more productive and competitive. Online-platforms, e-commerce and mobile money help to reduce the cost of production, logistics and operation and have become instrumental and innovative tools for promoting industrialization and trade across the region.
Even though internet based services are global, the EAC now needs to establish and strengthen frameworks that allow enterprises from the region to take full advantage of the available opportunities and envision an of an East African digital free trade.
Target Group: start-ups, entrepreneurs, online- and mobile-service providers, trade platforms, marketing agencies, banks
Trade and Gender
Strong networks encourage and support especially young women to explore their full potential and to contribute to design inspiring future concepts for a strong socio economic environment in the region. Mobilized through and supported by the East African Women in Business Platform (EAWiBP) successful business entrepreneurs will give examples in all sector sessions how especially women can benefit from digitalization. Be it through access to free education and health services or access to markets through online trading platforms and e-commerce.
Target Group: women entrepreneurs from all sectors, NGOs, ministries of family, trade, social affairs.