The tech conference business in sub-Saharan Africa has essentially gone all-digital this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted travel and accommodations globally, including in the sub-Sahara region, where conference organisers have cancelled or postponed most of the major tech events, causing those that are still being held this year to go virtual, with just a few exceptions.
The big news for African conferences is that the major IT event on the continent, AfricaCom, has gone virtual and, collocated with AfricaTech, is now part of the Virtual Africa Tech Festival in November, organised by Informa Tech. Informa’s series of events include West Africa Com, East Africa Com, and NigeriaCom (see list below).
Other organisers have cancelled events. “With continued uncertainty relating to travel restrictions, government directives and reports from leading health organizations, Gartner has made the decision to re-evaluate its conference portfolio for the remainder of 2020,” according to a note on the market research firm’s IT Symposium/Xpo site.
Most event organisers, though, have opted to go virtual in an attempt to offer a conference this year. “In response to COVID-19, we have decided to make an exciting shift, bringing together all of our Women in Tech World Series conferences to host our first-ever Women in Technology Online Festival!”, notes the Women in Tech web page.
Several of the virtual events, including the Informa series, offer a demo of what the virtual conferences on the homepage of the event websites.