Interpay CEO Saqib Nazir explains what the continent's technology boom…
The past 12 months has been our most active, eye-opening and inspiring year by far at AB2020, writes AB2020 founder Akosua Annobil.
As promised in our 2017 Resolution, we spent the year doing positive PR for Africa’s business and investment landscape – both online and offline – through events, digital media, and market entry missions.
In February 2017 we launched and hosted our first flagship event, the Tech in Ghana Conference in London. We held the second event in Accra nine months later, in November.
Combined, we hosted over 600 attendees; gave a platform to over 100 speakers; and showcased over 40 tech companies who presented their innovative projects, and shared valuable knowledge about the nascent but fast-developing ecosystem.
In May 2017 we delivered our second annual Ghana Business Mission in partnership with Dr Harnet Bokrezion; guiding a small group of early-stage investors and professionals in the diaspora as they embarked on a five-day tour to explore opportunities in cocoa production, banking, hospitality, medical health and media.
In June, we provided event management and consultancy services for the Africa Technology Business Forum, a one day conference in the UK showcasing the most exciting technology opportunities unfolding across the African continent.
By July, we were back in Accra to help stage the four-day Ghana Diaspora Homecoming Summit, which stemmed from President Nana Akufo-Addo’s pledge to involve Ghanaians living abroad in the development of the country.
September saw us spending a week in Busan, South Korea, where we managed the coordination of Ghana’s National Pavilion for UN initiative ITU Telecom World on behalf of the Ministry of Communications.
Next came Tech in Ghana Accra, and by December we were evaluating the year; gathering lessons learnt, and gearing up for 2018.
We spent considerable time on the continent last year, but all the while published articles promoting West African entrepreneurs including SnooCODE’s Sesinam Dagadu, Forbes 30 under 30 founder of MeQasa Kelvin Nyame, Paystack co-founders Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi, Asoriba co-founder Nana Agyemang Prempeh, and tech startup enthusiasts Kelechi Udoagwu and Tolu Agunbiade.
We also met and interviewed some phenomenal women in the tech space, including Uber’s Chief Branding Officer Bozoma Saint John and Claudette Irere, Director General for Rwanda’s Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (MiTEC).
Yes, AB2020 is a communications and events company focused on promoting business and investment in Sub Saharan Africa. But we’re not just a bog standard organisation sitting back waiting for clients to roll in.
We participate in the industry. We contribute and do our best to facilitate and highlight those working towards the same goal.
Since launching in 2015, we’ve interacted with some truly great people and I’ve personally been privileged to spend time with some of them in a capacity extended beyond their status or job title.
Hosting events and facilitating business is all well and good, but what underlies it all and what actually matters most, is people. How you relate to people, and how you treat people, will inevitably impact the way you work with people in the near and long-term future.
Relationships are forever. And long-term relationships are built off of integrity and trust.
As we head in to 2018 with some exciting plans, we’ll facilitate and encourage more relationship building both on the continent, and even more so globally.
It’s often said that it’s best to be on the ground when investing in Africa. Well, to have success in business, it’s best to have genuine relationships with your potential partners or customers well before making a commitment.
That way, when it comes to doing the real work, your foundation is already set in stone.
Wishing you all the best with your relationship goals. Happy New Year!
Akosua Annobil, Founder
AB2020 & Tech in Ghana Conference