AI Expo Africa 2019

The Fourth Industrial Revolution presents one of the largest trade, job and innovation opportunities of our generation.  AI Expo Africa, is the largest B2B artificial intelligence  (AI) trade show and conference in Africa.  Since its launch by the AI Media Group Cape Town in 2017, this community driven event has grown to over 3000+ AI practitioners and boasts over 9000+ square feet of expo space, 1000+ delegates, 100+ speakers and 50+ sponsors all focused on the goal of growing the 4IR opportunity in Africa and fostering links between buyers, suppliers, innovators and investors.

Invest Cape Town caught up with co-founder, Dr Nick Bradshaw, for a quick Q&A about the event.  The Invest Cape Town initiative was launched by the City of Cape Town to strengthen and promote our status as a high-performance, African business hub that supports big ideas and innovation.  Invest Cape Town is a demonstration of the City’s commitment to creating a platform that contributes to the increased awareness, attractiveness and competitiveness of the city as a place to do business.  Their mission is to attract and retain foreign direct investment which is of strategic importance to the economic development of Cape Town.

What is AI Expo Africa?

AI Expo Africa aims to foster international inward and outward trade as well as connect regional buyers with regional suppliers of high end solutions all seeking to leverage the economic and business advantage artificial intelligence can offer. Our business audience is comprised of Enterprise decision makers / CxOs, allied to AI Cloud platform providers, Tier 1 / 2 deployment & service providers, AI start-ups, innovators, investors, educators, government and AI ecosystem community builders.  AI Expo Africa offers real world case studies on the application of AI and Data Science in Business TODAY and seeks to create a vibrant innovation and start up ecosystem driving the AI industry in Africa.

Why did you choose Cape Town as the host city?

Cape Town is “the” digital hub of Africa and long been a soft landing zone for any business wanting to grow a presence in Africa or seek capital to start a new business. The local and provincial Government are firmly behind initiatives that foster growth and innovation allied to trade and investment. We found nothing but interest and support from the likes of City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government, who via Invest Cape Town and Wesgro helped us in 2019 expand our community. Long standing ecosystem players like Silicon Cape and a strong academic and investor base mean Cape Town is fast becoming the 4IR melting pot of Africa and provides all the right ingredients for hosting an event of our size and ambition.

Why should people attend the summit?

We are helping lay the foundations for an AI Powered Future for Africa, fostering B2B trade and investment around 6 key themes with a strong business development and growth narrative.

In 2019 we achieved significant growth of the community as a whole with headline figures as follows;

  • 3055 community members + 160% growth
  • 1027 registered delegates + 42% growth
  • 372 companies + 35% growth
  • 106 speakers + 53% growth
  • 55 sponsors + 27% growth
  • 35% female engineers at talent workshops + 34% growth

How does the AI Expo Africa compare with other similar summits around the world?

Firstly we are community driven – That means we have a vested interest in making our event work for our members and the wider economy.  Many trade events focus simply on selling you space – that is NOT our model.  Many media and events companies also fail to build sustainable business models as they are not taking a long term view of the market and dynamic of a rapidly changing 4IR technology landscape.  The AI Media Group is building for the long term and have created a sustainable community based movement that welcomes a diverse set of people from all 4 corners of Africa. We also want to tell more GOOD NEWS stories about innovation and entrepreneurism in the African AI sector.  Our trade magazine (Synapse) and streaming channel (AI TV) are a FREE point of entry providing meaningful CxO and Investor level insights plus we run a 400 seat FREE talent workshop series for young engineers and entrepreneurs that creates a win win for the entire community.

Do you welcome international delegates to AI Expo Africa?

Yes – this is a big part of our vision. We also work with embassy teams to encourage inward trade missions to the show.  In 2019 we hosted the French Embassy and they brought several French AI companies to the show who gained massive value from attending.  They also identified technology and collaborations that could also have possible application with French clients. Some notable launches also included;

  • Cirrus Foundry to stimulate AI start-up scene in SA
  • Robo World Cup in Africa
  • ITU Global AI For Good Summit collaboration
  • Signing of agreement by TIA & French Embassy “Young Enterprise Initiative”
  • Tech Adjacent book launch by Mushambi Mutuma
  • Zindi challenge platform – Now Africa’s largest data science challenge platform

Why is Cape Town as a globally competitive business destination?

In a recent report by Endeavor Insight entitled “Evaluation & Network Analysis of the Cape Town-Stellenbosch Tech Sector” Cape Town was confirmed as Africa’s tech capital. With its mix of support, logistical links, friendly business climate and even better weather climate Cape Town is the place to be for tech events and tech trade. With initiatives like Cape Town Tech Week and National Women in Tech Month not to mention the diversity and inclusive nature of the region, it really is a go to destination for business and tourism.  We encourage our delegates to take in the Cape Town environs when they visit and they have had nothing but positive feedback around what’s on offer.  Cape Town is now truly the Digital Hub of Africa – Join us!

James Vos

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About AI Expo Africa

AI Expo Africa, now entering its 3rd successful year, is the largest B2B trade focused Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Data Science conference in Africa.  Our 2020 conference and expo will run on 3rd-4th September 2020 and builds upon the phenomenal success of the 2018 / 2019 events that were held in Cape Town, South Africa, that cemented it as the largest gathering of its kind, with over 1000+ registered decision makers, investors, buyers, suppliers, innovators, SMBs and global brands in the region focusing on real world AI and Data Science business applications.

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