9th African Union Private Sector Forum
The 9th AU Private Sector Forum took place in Pretoria, from 13 to 15 November 2017, under the theme "Accelerating Africa's Industrialisation through Digitization and Youth Technopreneurship".
The event, organised by the Department of Science and Technology, the African Union, the NEPAD Business Foundation and Andalem (a research and advisory firm), was based on the premise that digital and technological ecosystems are vital for the eradication of poverty, equal opportunities, and an enhanced quality of life.
Connectivity and digitization are the foundations for the 21st century's knowledge economy, and are key enablers of sustainable innovation and new employment opportunities. Frameworks to support multisectoral and intergovernmental partnerships and public-private sector collaborations are therefore needed to connect and digitise all aspects of the African economy.
The 9th AU Private Sector Forum was a platform for vibrant discussions between telecommunication and technology companies, industrialists and the public sector. Global and intra-African collaborations were promoted to harness the benefits of digital technologies and technology entrepreneurship to accelerate Africa's economic transformation and sustainable development in the digital era.
Sessions on various topics, panel discussions and a pitching session for start-ups were part of the event. Topics included "Robotics and artificial intelligence in the African context", "Connecting Africa's industries and citizens to the global digital economy", "Smart and sustainable energy", "Building Africa's capacity in science and technology", and "Creating an enabling environment for technology entrepreneurship".