Viva Technology: Day 1: Data and African Development

Day one of Viva Tech was a force to be reckoned with.

In a venue that can hold over 70,000 people, the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles  was a scene from the future. It was the future. Gadgets, robots, new technology and anyone that was not going to adapt, will unfortunately be left behind.

The event was officiated with a meet and greet of the French president where he delivered an opening speech about the importance of the development of technology around the world.
Meanwhile our editor Claude had his first panel on the Stage X alongside Peris Bosire from FarmDrive and Sarah Toumi from Acacias with a discussion about the importance of gender diversity in African technology, when addressing women Claude explained “it will take a while” for there to be an equal amount of women and men in tech, the panel and the audience all nodding in agreement.

For me, Afric@ tech really stole the show. Last year 560 million dollars was invested in African startup. The year before it was 60 million, that’s a 500% increase in the year before. The innovation and drive that was apparent with new start ups as well as the more established companies such as MESH and Andela was echoed in conversation with Nigeria investor Tomi Davies, Rémy Rioux and Christina Sass.

The conversations were not limited to the stage, around me I could see start up businesses connecting with each other. Many who were similar, others were not but all had the passion and drive to really get African nations to evolve quicker than Europe and become a new competitor to Silicon Valley.

And as today marks the start of the new GDPR laws in Europe, Mark Zuckerberg, the head of Facebook rounded up the event with the importance of privacy in a world where we in essence give all our information away. Unfortunately for most African nations this law does not apply so it will be interesting to see whether so many of these big companies act responsibly and give Africans the same moral compass as they give to Europe.