The Silicon Savannah: Emerging Trends, Doing Business in (and with) Kenya and Africa’s Tech Ecosystem

Nairobi, Kenya

22 March 2023 - 25 March 2023

Wednesday 22 March 2023

17:00 Registration at the hotel
18:00 » 19:00 Welcome reception
19:00 Optional dinner

Thursday 23 March 2023

08:00 Registrations at Hotel
09:00 » 09:15 Opening of the Seminar + Welcome Address

Wiebe De Vries (AIJA past president)
Moritz Maurer (AIJA president - video message)
Mbula E. Nzuki (OC member)
09:15 » 09:45 High level panel on the Malabo Convention: Key to Africa’s Data Security and Data Equity
Could AU’s neglected Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection be the missing piece in promoting and championing Data Equity in Africa and amongst other Regions?
The Malabo Convention envisions Africa as a single entity in terms of data and privacy protection and calls for a harmonized, independent, and robust legal framework which protects all people from processors and data controllers.
It is however perturbing to note that only sixteen states have signed, 13 ratified out of 55, covers three main areas of public interest, including electronic commerce (e-transactions), personal data protection, and cybersecurity.
Comparative analysis between the Malabo convention and the Council of Europe’s Budapest Convention Cybercrime and EU’s GDPR. Any chance for equality/data equity between EU and AU member states?

  • Mbula E. Nzuki, MN LEGAL, Kenya
  • Hon. Immaculate Kassait, The Data Protection Commissioner, Kenya
  • Mr. Ali Hussein, Chairperson KICTANET, Kenya
  • Dr. Japheth Odhiambo, Deputy Director, Communications Authority, Kenya
09:45 » 10:15 The AfCFTA: The background, impact and future of a pan-African free trade zone

The AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area bringing together the 55 countries of the African Union (AU) and eight (8) Regional Economic Communities (RECs). What are the prospects for such single continental market? The panel will give the audience a brief intro to AfCFTA. Highlighting advantages and disadvantages of free trade as well on a large rich continent.
Based on this background the panel will zoom in on the most relevant topics addressed by the treaty from in introduction in 2018. How has the treaty and the implementation of it impacted the day-to-day life of both individuals and businesses across Africa.
Most importantly – which lessons have been learned and what does the future hold.

  • Daniela Jara-Cruz, Orbe Advisors, Mexico
  • Jeffah Ombati, Three Dimension (3D) Africa Communications Ltd, Kenya
  • Dr Olufunso Somorin, African Development Bank, Kenya
  • Dr Bright Gameli, MARA, Kenya
10:15 » 11:00 AfCFTA Impact on the African Tech/StartUp Ecosystem: World Domination in Waiting?

We are experiencing exponential growth in the number of deals and funding in African Startups over the last years. The ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement has so far been signed by 54 countries out of 55 states and once all the countries that have signed the agreement and ratified it, this is set to become the world’s largest Free Trade Area in the World. The objective of this agreement is to increase the African internal trade by 20% in the medium term and is projected to double or triple the internal trade depending on the agility of the implementation. This Panel is set to discuss and explore ways through which said implementation would be smooth by sharing experiences, challenges and lessons experienced by players within the ecosystem.
At the end of this discussion, we should be able to summarize the current fragmented situation bedeviling doing business on the continent, but most importantly, we will be able to make suggestions that would best advance the AfCFTA agenda for a positively impacted and unified African Tech Startup industry. Is AfCFTA the savior we have been waiting for?

  • Derrick Gakuu, Payless Africa
  • Dr. Wilson Karera, Karera & Associates Advocates, Kenya
  • Ceasar Nyagah, Admaius Capital Partner, Kenya
  • David Frolich, EY, Denmark
11:00 » 11:30 Coffee break
11:30 » 12:45 ESG (Impact) Investing in Africa’s Tech Industry: Risks and Opportunities

Environmental Social & Governance (ESG) initiatives continue to gain more dominance in the due diligence, strategy and risk management of many organizations including investors in Tech. We continue to witness increased focus on impact investing as a strategic approach in funding innovative solutions to Africa’s challenges.
In Africa, ESG data creates clarity to drive robust decision-making for both foreign and local investors.
During this panel discussion, we will explore the opportunities this sustainable investing approach presents for the Tech Industry, while also investigating key risks that stakeholders must innovatively address to successfully promote the sustainability agenda.

  • Mbula Nzuki, MN LEGAL, Kenya
  • Marcus Watson, Kawisafi Ventures, Kenya
  • Muthoni Wachira, MarketForce Technologies, Kenya
  • Jesse Zigmund, General Counsel, M-Kopa (Pan-African)
  • Farah Esmail, BSc, JD, MBA Corporate Governance Consultant, Sirdar Group Talent Acquisition Partner, Boyden EA, Kenya
12:45 » 14:00 Lunch
14:00 » 15:00 ESG – Tech & Social Aspects Consideration

  • Role of corporate lawyers driving the transition of the companies incorporating ESG factors to business models.
  • ESG – The “G” is of the essence and foundation to design and a system of thinking that applies to how the economy will be shaped in the future.
  • Does driving the ESG agenda mean sacrificing company returns or competitive advantage?
  • How does ESG change due diligence?
  • How should corporations address societal concerns such as racial equity?
  • Social Impact: contribution from the private sector to reach SDG in developing countries
  • Human rights: The right of clean, healthy and sustainable environment – how “social” impact requires environmental considerations.  

  • Paola Fudakowska, TRIAL International, Switzerland
  • Dianah Igati, Scope Markets, Kenya
  • Joanna McIntyre, Legal & Compliance, Cedar Holdings Ltd, Tanzania
  • Wiebe De Vries, Bloom Tax, Netherlands
15:00 » 15:30 Tech for Inclusive Solutions, Successes and/or Lessons for African Start-ups

Africa is a future tech super power with a rapidly expanding tech start up eco system. Tech Creators in Africa have generated some of the most exciting innovations in the world making Africa the leading edge of using technology. Financial technology in parts of the African continent is decades ahead of the rest of the world, from M-Pesa in Kenya to the world leading Fintech Innovation coming out of Nigeria. The tech revolution continues to provide inclusive solutions applicable to individuals, states and societies whereby the use of technology has increased productivity, created jobs, and provided novel solutions addressing inequality, food production, world-class education and healthcare. Various government institutions have also improved service delivery through the use of tech solutions.

The panel discussion brings together policy makers from different jurisdictions to share insights on global best practices. The discussions shall focus on success stories by tech start-ups in Africa exploring aspects that have sustained their growth as well as the lessons learnt, what leaders should prioritize to build a thriving tech start up ecosystem including the need for adequate policies and legislation, proper tech infrastructure, funding among other solutions.

  • Josephine Oyombe, J. Oyombe & Company Advocates, Kenya
  • Michelle Gatamah, Autochek Africa, (Pan-African)
  • David Oluranti, VP, Head of Legal Flutterwave, Nigeria
15:30 » 16:00 Coffee break
16:00 » 17:15 Open dialogue on working in an intercultural environment: do regulations unite or do they widen the gap?

Just like any business, also the tech business brings together many different stakeholders, ranging from investors over lawyers to regulators.  Each with their own perspective on how business should be done.  When doing business in an intercultural environment, each possibly with his or her own cultural background.  Are regulations then the key by creating one framework everybody needs to live by or do regulations create underneath a bigger gap?  Based on some practical experiences from the panellist, we invite the audience to close the first day of the seminar by participating in this open dialogue across cultures.

  • David Diris, Kocks & Partners, Belgium
  • Stephan Korte, Kanzlei Korte, Germany
  • Kasper Kiilsholm Ottesen, Highbridge, Denmark
  • Riad Khalil Hassanain, BRAK, Germany
  • Samuel Mbiriri Nderitu, FCIArb, FMIArb, Partner, Mbiriri Ngugi & Co Advocates, Kenya
19:00 Dinner

Friday 24 March 2023

09:00 Registrations at Hotel
09:30 » 11:00 Development of Inclusive Tech Policies for African tech startups

Technology is a critical driver of prosperity in the 21st century. It plays a vital role in unlocking opportunities, economic growth and development across all industries ranging from agriculture to education. The development of inclusive policies and legislation for Tech start-ups is foundational for creating the right tech-ecosystem.

Africa has the potential to be a tech startup giant, but cumbersome regulations, limited funding and highly fragmented markets are holding startups back. Maximising the benefits of technology requires a bold national and regional strategy to build a critical mass of tech startups. There is need for continuous conversation between the private & public sector, civil society and the public to ensure that the needs and priorities of various actors in the tech echo system are incorporated in the development of inclusive policies tech policies for the growth of start-ups.

The panel discussion will address the need for enacting inclusive policies and legislation to support tech start-ups, the role actors across the public and private sector play in the development of inclusive tech policies and for the strategies to be put in place to ensure development of inclusive and adequate tech policies.

  • Josephine Oyombe, J. Oyombe & Company Advocates, Kenya
  • Deji Sarumi, Tech Hive, Nigeria
  • Mercy Mutindi, General Counsel, Wasoko
  • Evalyn Gachoki, WGLaw Experts, Kenya
11:00 » 11:30 Coffee break
11:30 » 13:00 The growth and development of African nations and sustainability – ensuring a just transition to a green future

This session relates to the topics of growth and development of African nations and sustainability, and will consider the debate around African nations’ right to heavily lean on their natural resources as they progress on their path to development, as other nations in more developed parts of the world did and do. How do we reconcile the principle that peoples and nations have a right to permanent sovereignty over their natural wealth and resources, which right should first and foremost be exercised in the interest of their national development and of the well-being of the people of the state concerned, with the urgent need for action on climate change at a global level?
  • Narjess Naouar, Moxico Resources plc, United Kingdom
  • Beatrice Nyabira, DLA Piper, Kenya
  • Dr. Ernest Poku, AECF, Kenya
  • Jade Makory, PwC, Kenya
13:00 » 14:00 Lunch
14:00 » 15:30 AIJA Women Network session - Women Breaking into Boys’ Club & Thriving in Tech

Until recently, the tech industry was one big boys club, flawed with massive gender disparity right from recruitment to gender pay gaps for the select few (women) who made it past the “gate”.  Once in the boys’ club, very few women thrive(d) and even fewer stay(ed) n to make the coveted c-suite.  The story may not be completely positive now, as the fight for equal opportunity and fair treatment is still on, but it is remarkable to note we have come along way.  This panel discussion seeks to elucidate the disparity experienced by women in Tech, right from the onset (school level). It will also touch on the Social aspects of ESG such as Employment, Equal Pay, among others all in a view for promoting Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in Tech. From the brilliant women thriving in Tech, we look forward to learning from them and look forward to promoting safe spaces for Women in Tech to thrive on.

Welcome address:
  • Paola Fudakowska, Co-founder of the AIJA Women Network and AIJA Honorary President
  • Wangoko Njoroge, Wangoko & Company Advocates, Kenya
  • Donna Phoebe Rege, Safaricom PLC, Kenya
  • Jacklyne Iminza-Anyamba, East Africa Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (EAVCA), Kenya
  • Jessica Francisca Colaço, Brave & iHub, Kenya
  • Keziah Rutto, Interswitch East Africa, Kenya
15:30 » 16:00 Coffee break
19:00 Optional dinner

Saturday 25 March 2023

07:00 » 14:30 Optional morning safari followed by lunch