Our Story

Is Africa ready for the 4th Industrial Revolution? In the next 5 years, the African continent is set to host 1.3 billion device and IoT connections (GSMA Intelligence). Ever increasing connectivity has placed the power to build a connected world and a better, safer future in our hands.

Connecting The Future

GSMA creates the largest mobile technology events in the world – in Barcelona, Los Angeles, and Shanghai – and now online. Our mission is to connect the full ecosystem to advance the world’s digital economy and fuel innovation.

Thrive Africa promises conversation guided by technology’s visionaries, forums to create policy, networking opportunities to forge partnerships and a packed exhibition listing of technology that will define the future and advance your business strategy.

This is the continent where it all started. Where seemingly small ideas changed the course of history and we realised the true potential of connectivity. The world now watches to see where Africa goes next.

You are the builders of Africa’s future; and this is your stage.

Welcome to Thrive Africa.

Our 2020 Advisory Board

We are honoured to continue to work with our external Advisory Board who inform the strategy underpinning our regional engagement:

Sheila Okiro

Chief Investment Officer, Financial Intermediation & Inclusion Division, African Development Bank Group

Gillian Ezra

Group Head, Legal & Commercial, simfy Africa

Ngozi Megwa

Senior Vice President, Digital Partnerships for Middle East and Africa, Mastercard

Kevin Rudahinduka

Transformation Program Director, Bank of Kigali

Mercy Ndegwa

Head of Public Policy, East & Horn of Africa, Facebook

Oyeronke Oyetunde

General Manager: Regulatory Affairs, MTN Group

Dr. Precious Lunga

CEO, Baobab Circle

Mariam Abdullahi

Android Platform Partnerships Director, Africa, Google

Kui Kinyanjui

Head of Regulatory & Public Policy, Safaricom


In 2019 we explored the impacts of digital technology on African society and how technology affects future lives.

Day 1: Digital is here. Now What?

Centred on the digital citizen; day one focused on understanding the user journey, creating a long-term vision for tech in Africa and building a local ecosystem to support a digital Africa. Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT & Innovation in Rwanda emphasised how we must open the way to industry 4.0 through collaboration across the region. 5G, whilst not imminent, brought lively discussion on jobs of the future, investment, industry purpose and connectivity. Facebook & Airtel provided frank and open discussions around data and trust, highlighting the careful need to balance between privacy, innovation and security for the consumer. Airtel’s take home message; whoever uses or monetises data must be transparent and honest with its users.

Day 2: “Future Lives”

Explored how we can empower Africa’s women and youth to provide solutions to issues that affect the region, not only now, but in the future when technology is projected to develop further. The sessions brought inspirational keynotes from Rwandan entrepreneurs, demonstrating real-life examples of innovation in the region and the role that media and women play in the future of tech and society.

Day 3: “Mobile Money Leadership Forum:  Embracing ‘Payments as a Platform’ in Africa and Beyond.”

The forum convened thirteen high-profile speakers and hundreds of delegates from the payments landscape for a deep-dive into the world of digital financial services in emerging markets, with a focus on new business models, collaborative partnerships and the socioeconomic impact they can deliver. The day concluded with the Mastercard Payments Forum and networking reception.

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