Later this week, this year’s ICT Africa exhibition and conference will take place. It’ll run from the 5th to the 7th of October. It’s Zimbabwe’s ICT industry flagship event, organized by the Computer Suppliers Association of Zimbabwe (COMSA). This year however (and last year as well actually) there’s great involvement by the Ministry of ICT in organizing the event.
If this year’s event is going to be anything similar to last year’s or the year before that (and there’s nothing to suggest otherwise) then we expect to have the event filled with mostly stuff that’s not exciting. Companies will exhibit some HP PCs, laptops and servers they’ll selling. Maybe a few companies will bring iPads this time around.
You’ll also have the ISPs, telling you how fast and lovely their internet is. They’ll give you flyers with details of each service they offer and how you can get it. Most of the flyers you can get at their offices or just off their website on any given day by the way.
If you’re lucky, YoAfrica will have a free LAN gaming party and some free Wi-Fi.. ZOL does free Wi-FI too The two are Zimbabwe’s largest ISPs. YoAfrica didn’t come to last year’s exhibition unfortunately and we hear ZOL too might not be coming this year.
Close to the end of the 3 day event, a government minister will come give a speech about how important ICTs are to the country.
We’ve attended this annual exhibition faithfully these past three years and this is more or less the picture.
Do we look forward to it? Not really.
Will we attend this year? You bet!
Would we like to see some change? Absolutely.
Here are some ideas:
- Let’s have some real innovation from the exhibitors. Launch an exciting ground breaking service. Announce significant milestones for the industry. The exhibitors should not show us stuff we already know!
- The free internet and the gaming is great, let’s have more exciting stuff like this that keep visitors on their feet wanting more. The Ubuntu team offers a refreshing experience too. More stuff like this please.
- Let’s have more discussion panels. Let’s have the Econet CEO, Telecel CEO, the YoAfrica CEO, the Burco CEO, the POTRAZ Director General, the ICT Minister and all these people leading companies that are bringing ICTs to the people. Let’s have them all on one stage answering questions from a smart host and us the users of the ICTs . We’d like so much to hear their view on a lot of topics.
- Let’s have a day dedicated to tech entrepreneurs, where start-ups present, discuss, share and get advice. The future of the ICTs belongs to them.
- The name ‘ICT Africa’ doesn’t say what the event is about. At least not anymore. Let’s find a suitable name.
That’s us. If we see these things this year, we’ll be pleasantly surprised. If not, maybe next year. And just to be clear, we’re not discounting the efforts COMSA (and now the ICT Ministry) have made to hold this event yearly, No. We just wish for more.
If you have any suggestions for the organizers, please share in the comments below.