The 9th annual West & Central Africa Com opened in Dakar, Senegal this week with over 500 delegates registered to attend the conference and exhibition.
Thenevent is a gathering of the entire digital ecosystem from across the region,nand provides a platform for the industry stakeholders to meet, learn andnnetwork, with the aim of driving growth for service providers.nnnnThis year’s main focus is on new opportunities in the West & CentralnAfrican digital market. The keynotes saw key visionaries sharing their experiencesnand strategies for a digital West & Central Africa, including speakers likenTidjane Deme, Lead for Francophone Africa at Google, Chams Diagne, ChiefnOperating Officer, Africa, for the Viadeo social networking platform, TiemokonCoulibaly, CEO for Francophone Markets at Airtel Africa, and MTN Group’s VP fornWECA (& CEO at MTN Cote d’Ivoire), Wim Vanhelleputte, to mention a few.nnnnThe audience included telecom operators, solution vendors, OTT players, contentnproviders, solution vendors, and entrepreneurs. In particular, the theme of hownthe West & Central African digital market will progress and shape up wasnpopular; there was consensus amongst the keynote speakers from Google, Viadeo,nAirtel and MTN about the need for service providers to adapt to consumer needs,nsince consumers are increasingly demanding.nnnnThese demands range from the need for better connectivity, enterprise customersnrequesting tailored services, low ARPU-segments wanting more advanced services,nmobile internet users insisting on free of charge access to social networking,nlocal & international content, etc. How these demands will be met byndigital players is yet to be seen, but Google’s Tidjane Deme emphasised thatn“content needs to come from a local ecosystem, this ecosystem needs to benencouraged to grow and only then will there be real value added services fornWest & Central African consumers”. Airtel’s Tiemoko Coulibaly stronglynagrees with other speakers that “enterprise & cloud computing, mobileninternet & content, electronic payments & low-cost smartphones” are keynareas of focus for service providers, and he places the consumer demand fornbetter coverage as perhaps the most important point to focus on.nnnnMany of the speakers took the opportunity to plead with regulators in FrancophonenAfrica to assist with easing through necessary improvements, changes andnspectrum allocations in order to benefit the consumer and enable servicenproviders to continue growing in the region.
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