Aidex Voices

Next week, AidEx Nairobi will for a fifth time take place in one of the world’s most important regions for humanitarian aid and development. This satellite conference is the first component of this year’s events, ahead of our flagship conference and exhibition AidEx 2018 in Brussels this November.

Over two days between 12 and 13 September, more than 500 sector professionals will engage with thought leaders and policy-makers as they incite discussion reflective of the most fascinating and timely topics centred around this year’s theme: Revolution in the Digital Age: Safeguarding a Future for All. How can Technology Contribute to a Positive Social Impact?  

A digital aid and development revolution

Technology plays a vital role in the development of African economies and is constantly reinforcing regional trends in business, investment, opportunities and modernisation, which should be for the benefit of all.

Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, has transformed into a technology epicentre which many now call the ‘Silicon Savannah’. But what of rural Kenya and other neighbouring countries in the East African region? How can we stop vulnerable people getting left behind?

AidEx is pleased to welcome many key experts that represent diverse opinions and expertise. We welcome speakers from government, aid organisations and the commercial sector, who together with delegates, will weigh-up the pros and cons of this situation.

AidEx in Nairobi will offer a glimpse of the future. On the up-side, a future where children are learning to read on tablet computers, where ultra-cheap solar power is lighting off-grid rural communities and where millions of Africans use their mobile phones to settle debts, take out insurance, get medical help and receive payments.

On the down-side; 78 percent of households in developed countries are online versus 32 percent in developing countries. Those who do not have internet access are still isolated, lacking opportunity, lacking education and disproportionately poor; most likely rural, elderly, and female.

Conference programme highlights

In the opening keynote, the World Food Programme’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, Adrian van der Knaap will offer a futurist view of the aid and development context and system.

In the morning of the first day, representatives from UNFPA, WFP, Ministry of Education and Bridge International Academies will in a panel discussion delve into what opportunities, promises and impediments the digital revolution presents for meeting the SDGs by 2030.

IT specialists from the IRC and a UNHCR operations expert will discuss with successful women entrepreneurs including Jessica Colaco of Brave Venture Labs, how digitisation can catalyse progress for women and girls and why this is so integral for wider socio-economic progress.

Speakers from World Vision International, the British Council and IFRC will in the afternoon explore how we can achieve global digital literacy in order to ensure internet inclusion and avoid polarisation.

Day two of the conference will invite Professor Bitange Ndemo, the Former Permanent Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communication, alongside Susie Kitchens, Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya and Permanent Representative of the UN Environment Programme at the British High Commission, to deliver the keynote on what extent technology can accelerate innovation and improve aid efficiency.

Ideas on how to unlock new entrepreneurial opportunities for financial inclusion will be discussed by the Ambassador of Belgium to Kenya and Permanent Representative to UN Environment, Nicolas Nihon, alongside Financial Inclusion Manager at KPMG East Africa, Grace L.N. Njorogo, as well as representatives of Safaricom, GSMA and AgriLedger.

The important topic of achieving sustainable development through securing appropriate results-oriented data and evidence will be debated by data experts Wilfred Oluoch from the FAO, Kenya Red Cross Society’s Health Advisor, Sylvia Khamati; Director of Marketing and Sales at Saab, Hugh Ward and UNOPS Partnership Development Officer as well as Optimetriks Co-founder Paul Langlois-Meurinne. 

To read more about the conference and AidEx Nairobi, visit here >>

To attend our event in Brussels on 14 and 15 November, AidEx 2018, register here >>

By the AidEx Event Director, Nicholas Rutherford