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After Having recently concluded its 2nd annual AI Expo Africa, Invest Cape Town caught up with the co-founders of Africa’s largest Artificial Intelligence b2b, supplier-focused trade event, to gain some insight into the African AI landscape, and the reasons behind choosing Cape Town as a venue for such an innovative tech community. The ground-breaking community event and its showcase Expo, Conference and AI Workshops are served by new media additions to the stable, AI TV and a community publication called Synapse – the first of its kind in Africa.

Nick Bradshaw and Roy Bannister have a collective 40+ year track record of technology and journalistic reporting, publications, events and community building, and a passion to see AI used to benefit Africa socially and economically through education, implementation across all business and government sectors, and investment into African AI initiatives. One of the key aims of the event is to demystify the hype around AI and 4IR, and showcase real-world applications available to business and government from African innovators, as well as global leaders in the AI space.

“We believe the tech media industry is changing. We are leveraging new formats and platforms to communicate the business opportunity in the African AI & Data Science landscape for entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders and corporates. We make our content accessible across the whole of Africa by removing price and knowledge barriers to content, creating new event formats and sharing the fastest growing business opportunity across the continent with our community,” says Nick.

“Choosing Cape Town as a base to showcase the continent’s AI offerings, was a no-brainer” says Roy, “with a forward-looking approach to new ideas, a can-do approach to all things, especially tech, and a willingness to invest in this sector, it’s no wonder that Cape Town has been named Africa’s leading digital city. AI Expo Africa and its goals fit perfectly with goals of the City of Cape Town to entrench the city as one of the leaders in this space globally.”

While AI Expo Africa is mainly business-focused and designed to bring users across all sectors like retail, banking, insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, mining it also has a strong skills-development and capacity building element and offers AI Skills workshops not only to c-suite business executives looking to understand AI at a practical level, but also offers free AI to students, young data scientists and engineers. These are all backed up by a world-class conference offering and expo space showcasing start-ups, vendors and platform providers ranging from local tech companies, to continental innovators like Telkom and global leaders like SAP, Amazon, UIPath, Blue Prism and Hitachi to name a few.

“We’ve been really amazed by the interest AI Expo Africa has garnered,” says Nick. “In 2019 we achieved significant growth of the community as a whole with 50+ sponsors and 375 companies represented as sponsors, delegates or speakers – all with an interest in AI/4IR. We achieved our goal of achieving a mix of global players down to the smallest/newest start-ups and businesses of every size in between. Overall, we achieved growth of over 30% in c-suite attendees, community and conference. Of significant interest this year, was not only the support from Wesgro and the City of Cape Town, and a phenomenally successful bi-lateral trade delegation from France that resulted in an AI deal being signed, but a visit and speech by Telecommunications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who pledged her support for next year’s event and the ground-breaking work our event and community are doing.”

AI Expo Africa 2020 will take place at Century City Conference Centre, Cape Town on 3 & 4 September 2020.

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