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Gitex arrives in Africa, first stop Morocco

It will be the first foreign venture for Gitex since its foundation 42 years ago
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Dubai-based Gitex Global will debut the African version of its event in 2023. After 40 years since its birth, the organisation has decided to broaden its horizons. Marrakech has been chosen to host this new event from 31 May to 2 June 2023.

With more than 5,000 exhibitors from 170 different countries, 800 start-ups, around 1,000 speakers... Gitex Global is undoubtedly one of the largest high-tech trade fairs in the world. KAOUN International, the Dubai World Trade Center's (DWTC) overseas event organiser, will lead the partnership for this highly anticipated business endeavour in the coveted tech region, officially launching the global "Go There" campaign for the GITEX AFRICA campaign.

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In front of a packed house, the signing of the creation of Gitex Africa Morocco was formalised this week in one of the exhibition halls. At the official announcement of the fair and the signing ceremony, Mohamed Drissi Melyani, director general of the Digital Development Agency, said: "We are honoured to organise this event in a continent that is experiencing great dynamic, economic and social growth in many fields".

"Morocco is playing a crucial role in helping and supporting Africa's development under the leadership of His Majesty King Mohamed VI and linking it economically with the rest of the world. We are deeply committed to contributing to the success of this first edition of GITEX AFRICA and will work very hard to make it exceptional for all of us," he said.

At the confluence of Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, Morocco is well positioned to transform itself into a regional trade hub by leveraging its strategic geographic location, political stability and world-class infrastructure. Morocco is Africa's fifth largest economy, the second largest African investor in sub-Saharan Africa and the largest African investor in West Africa, while also ranking third among all African countries in the World Bank's ease of doing business index.

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Foreign investment in Morocco is increasing, particularly in export sectors such as manufacturing, through favourable macroeconomic policies, trade liberalisation, investment incentives and structural reforms.

In 2021, Africa recorded the highest financing for start-ups with USD 2.1 billion for 563 companies across the continent. Start-up financing in the region has grown six times more than the global average. Analysts predict that the tech market is on track to grow from $115 billion to $712 billion by 2050, while growth in start-up funding is six times higher than anywhere else.

African talent development is also at an all-time high. Global tech titans Microsoft and Google are already establishing multi-billion dollar innovation and talent hubs in Africa, while the number of people with internet access has risen to 522.8 million, or 40% of the African population.

Microsoft, through its Africa Transformation Office (ATO), aims to provide resilient cloud services in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe through its partnership with Liquid Cloud. 

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The relationship between Google and Africa began about 15 years ago, some nine years after the company's official launch. The company, now worth more than $1 trillion, has built and championed some Africa-focused initiatives while running its sub-Saharan business from South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. It launched an AI lab in Accra, Ghana in 2018, where it would conceptualise and execute AI projects on the continent.

"Organising the African version of this prestigious fair is in line with the Kingdom's efforts to promote digital and investment in the technology field," the DDA head explained on this occasion. For her part, Trixie Lohmirmand, Executive Vice President of Dubai World Trade Center, said she was "delighted with the creation of this African version of the event and this long-lasting partnership with the Kingdom", noting that "like Dubai, Morocco is a true regional hub and it was completely logical and legitimate to establish this partnership with the ADD to open up more to the African continent".