Africa’s largest AI Fest startups comes to SA


Microsoft Africa President, Lillian Barnard

from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
Western Cape Bureau
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – SOUTH Africa is set to host the continent’s largest African Startups AI Fest on 6th June 2024 in Johannesburg, an event organised by Microsoft.

According to the Microsoft Africa President, Lillian Barnard the hybrid event would bring together technology startup founders, pioneers, startup partners and customers while those that are not able to physically attend would be linked virtually to ensure the continent benefits.

Barnard said the gathering would present an opportunity to the continent’s 10,000 startups to share their stories of success and be offered access to industry-specific expertise and insights on how best to take their business to the next level with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).

“There is a need to provide startups on the continent with the resources to take their concepts from the drawing board to customers. From AI-enabled tech solutions to advanced digital skills, startups need to be given every opportunity to thrive in a highly competitive global market because they are the catalysts for job creation and economic growth in Africa,” Barnard said.

The announcement of the Johannesburg continental event barely comes a day Morocco had launched its first African Startups AI Fest at GITEX Africa in Marrakech on Wednesday (yesterday), which was organised by the Africa Transformation Office (ATO), which inspire and support startups to accelerate their journey to market with the right AI-powered tech solutions.

Among other participants to attend are founders, entrepreneurs, business decision-makers, engineers and developers in the startups space from across the continent. T

“In the face of a challenging economic climate, startups across Africa have demonstrated remarkable resilience. Despite the tough conditions, they have ignited a wave of innovation. Empowered with the right tech tools, startups can scale their solutions, enhance productivity, and drive growth,” Barnard said.

She added: “At Microsoft, we believe that technology, particularly the transformative power of AI, holds the key to a more empowered future in Africa.”

Attendees of the inaugural African Startups AI Fest will be introduced to Independent Software Vendors that would integrate the Microsoft AI into its software and recently launched the first AI lawyer in South Africa.

The solution automates certain tasks by providing quick answers to legal questions, freeing up time for attorneys to address more complex legal queries.

Microsoft aims to reach 6,000 to 10,000 startups and provide them with customised support through the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub programmes.

Founders and entrepreneurs will be primed for growth through industry-specific webinars designed to help startups scale, pitch coaching sessions that will help investors enhance their pitching skills and navigate common challenges, investor community sessions that will connect startups with top investors from the Continental investor community to glean key insights on securing their first investments, integration with the Microsoft Independent Software Vendor programme and insights on how to best use AI technologies to propel their businesses forward.

– CAJ News

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