All the stars were out for the 12th annual AfricaCom Awards ceremony last night, which was held in Cape Town under the canopy of a perfect night sky. Recognising some of the technology, media and telecommunications industry elite, the awards have continued to grow in number and influence and this year was no exception.

There were two new awards this year – one recognising top women in innovation in Africa, and the other for government leadership.

James Williams, portfolio manager, Informa Tech, says: “The Government Leadership Award is given to the government representative whose work in digital transformation and technology has enabled significant positive change in the lives of people in Africa. We are delighted to present this inaugural recognition to Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, South Africa’s Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, in honour of her efforts to break the barriers of connectivity in South Africa and her efforts to promote an inclusive connected society.”

Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams who had been invited to give the welcoming address to the assembled guests, expressed gratitude on behalf of the South African government, to the organisers of AfricaCom for once again bringing the leading tech conference to the country.

“At the heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4R) is people,” she says. “Therefore it has been encouraging to note that the discussions, various technologies and innovations showcased during AfricaCom, have primarily centred on technology as an enabler for socio-economic development. We were further encouraged by the collaborations between various organisations in developing solutions. This is consistent with our mantra, ‘Coordinate. Collaborate. Execute 4IR’, which means that an apt response to the 4IR incorporates a co-ordinated, collaborative approach between role players; including government, public entities, private sector, academia and civil society.”

Other luminaries on the night included former Springbok rugby champion Bryan Habana. “These awards recognise those who are pushing the envelope in their respective technological fields and set the foundation for Africa to prosper,” he says.

The winners of the 2019 AfricaCom Awards were:

• Connecting the Continent – Liquid Telecom
• Delivering Excellence in Customer Experience – Ericsson and MTN Group
• Everything as a Service: Best Cloud or Application Solution – Verimatrix
• Changing Lives Award – KaiOS Technologies
• Best Digital Entertainment Innovation Award – Telecoming
• Security Product or Service of the Year Award – Upstream Systems
• Best Network Management Software Award: – Orange and Huawei
• Best Connected Consumer Device Award – Orange
• Best Innovation for Enterprise – SqwidNet
• Most Innovative Service — The Business of Tomorrow Award – Safaricom & Huawei

The public voted categories of CXO and Enterprise CXO went to:
CXO of the Year – Charles Molapisi, CTIO, MTN Group.
Enterprise CXO of the Year – Warren Hero, CDO, Webber Wentzel.

Also introduced in 2019, was an award that recognises the contribution made by women to the development of Africa, adding weight to the call for gender parity in industry, by showcasing the incredible achievements of each of these women. The winner of the inaugural Female Innovator of the year is Elisabeth Medou Badang, senior vice-president Africa and Indian Ocean at Orange.