Zimbabwe’s Ministry of ICT, in partnership with a company called Africa Exchange, is set to hold an ICT exhibition and conference event called “e-Tech Africa Expo 2012” in October this year. The event will run from 1 to 5 October. A conference will be run alongside the exhibition from the 3rd to the 4th of October. According to communication sent out to by Africa Exchange, the event “provides a platform for networking, exchange of views and experiences towards the growth of ICT’s in Africa”.
This is the first annual ICT exhibition that will been held directly by the Ministry of ICT. In the past the ministry would hold their conference as part of the Computer Suppliers Association of Zimbabwe (COMSA) annual ICT Africa event, which we understand they have now pulled out of.
We got in touch with ICT Ministry permanent secretary, Sam Kundishora, and he confirmed that they are no longer working together with COMSA on the ICT Africa event citing that COMSA wouldn’t work with them this year. According to him the Ministry has also taken initiative to include more stakeholders outside of COMSA’s membership scope.
“COMSA decided not to work with the ministry this time around,” he said, explaining why they are holding their own event just 11 days after the ICT Africa Exhibition which will run from 18 to 19 September. “COMSA is driven by membership and does not cater for all ICT stakeholders in the country, and therefore we thought to provide all stakeholders irrespective of the affiliation a platform to come interact, exchange information and exhibit their products”, said Kundishora.
The perm sec also says e-Tech Africa will attract international exhibitors and visitors for business engagement and the conference. The event is running on the theme “Exploiting the Potential of ICTs for sustainable, Socio and Economic Transformation”.
Asked for his comment the current COMSA president, Harold Muvuti, said he didn’t have any comments on the e-Tech Africa expo as he was waiting to meet the ICT Minister, Nelson Chamisa, to discuss the event. And on them deciding to not work with the ministry Muvuti responded, “Absolutely not true. I’m currently waiting to be called to a meeting with the minster and that is all to do with working with the ministry.”
We have no issues with the two events being run separately. If anything, we think Zimbabwe has too few tech events. We just think they are too close together especially as, save for the international visitors bit that the ICT Ministry one will have, the exhibitions are likely to be the same format and content. It’ll probably be difficult to sell a compelling business case for the small tech industry to exhibit at both events.