After months of anticipation and planning, there was no doubt that the Vifaa Tech Festival was going to be a rollercoaster of conversation around the various field of the consumer electronics space in Kenya and Africa as a whole. From a behind-the-scenes point of view, the event was nothing short of an awesome experience and the whole Gadgets Africa team’s reaction to everything told everything one needs to know.
The event kicked off on June 11th with various keynote speeches from experts at Dell Technologies. And from the very first word, you could tell that the current global COVID-19 situation would be the main talking point. This is as they gave a deep dive on how firms should look to establish effective digital workspaces.
This was followed by an interesting conversation between Samsung Kenya’s Charles Kimari and our managing editor Saruni Maina on the current and future plans of the firm in the Kenyan market.
Later came up our first-panel discussion led by Meedan’s Africa Program Manager Eric Mugendi alongside Dell’s Peter Mbiti, Samsung East Africa’s Samuel Odhiambo and Henry Nzekwe, editor at our sister site Wee Tracker. From this conversation, the group gave various experiences on the work-from-home structures that pretty much took over the world and how they coped with the sudden change since last year.
Day one then saw various interesting chats go on about what electronics Kenyans have been buying the most and how they get to acquire them. This was accordingly taken on by Kenyan tech journalist Nick Kanali with Jumia Kenya’s James Kamau joining Samuel Odhiambo from Samsung.
Home internet connectivity was our next discussion as ICT consultant Tom Makau and Samsung’s Ken Gitonga gave a really comprehensive outlook on the major steps Kenya has taken in the evolution of mobile wireless networks. This is all the way to the new 5G network that is expected to have wide coverage in various cities across the country.
A conversation between entrepreneurs on the whole tech space in Africa and how far the country and continent can go in embracing it in business then followed up. This was led by FinTech.TV’s Zindzi Kibiku leading the chat alongside Craft Silicon’s CEO, Kamal Budhabhatti, Pezesha Africa’s founder Hilda Moraa and our very own Nayantara Jha, Wee Media’s co-founder.
From the very first day, it was pretty clear that the Vifaa Tech Festival was here to shake things up as these various panel discussion dug deep into the potential of the continent in the tech industry.
As expected, day two followed suit and never disappointed as we took on various chats on other sectors in the market. Lighting up the day was Samsung’s launch of the Neo QLED 8K TV whose review was being aired for the very first time in the country at the event. And having been graced the 85-inch and 65-inch models that we used as monitors for the two days, we can tell you that they were nothing but beasts.
— Gadgets Africa (@gadgetsafrica) June 12, 2021
After that was a chat with Saruni Maina and Eliud Mungai, Kenya’s country manager at Carbon, a digital bank based in Nigeria that offers digital loans. This was obviously quite interesting as we heard about the debt crisis in Kenya that has been linked heavily with the high-interest rates offered by mobile loan lenders.
The future of mobility in Africa was the next conversation as renowned car enthusiast, Robert Mwirigi led the chat alongside Little Cab’s Nyawira Maina, WeTu‘s e-mobility manager, Stephen Omondi and Dr Joseph Kuhudzai, founder of Electric Drive Africa. This saw really interesting views on what Kenya and other African countries can do to control traffic congestion and what more we should do to embrace electric mobility.
Our concluding panel then took on a discussion around the esports and gaming world in Kenya. This was led by Pro Series Gaming and Naiccon’s Brian Barasa with pro gamers Sylvia ‘QueenArrow’ Gathoni and Brian ‘Beast’ Diang’a giving their experiences in the esports industry and what they would love to see Kenya do more to see it grow. Liquid Intelligent Technologies’ Ben Roberts also graced the panel giving a commercial perspective on the field that has grown but not as fast as expected and what more should be done.
All this is even despite the awards section of the event that definitely saw a number of surprise winners and other firms pretty much dominating with their winning products.
From the whole team at Gadgets Africa, it was an absolutely fascinating experience and we thank all our attendees, speakers and sponsors who made Vifaa Tech Festival nothing but a success.