Civic Tech Innovation Forum & Jamfest 2023: #AfricaFlows

About #AfricaFlows

The Civic Tech Innovation Forum and Jamfest is a jointly-held conference, that took place between the 16th and 19th of October 2023 at the Tshimologong Precinct in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. The conference carried the theme #AfricaFlows, a tribute to the innovators and media makers who are taking Africa forward. #AfricaFlows built on a series of exciting themes over the years, this time commenting on the advent of AI and its possibilities – good, bad, or neutral.

#AfricaFlows illustrates the confidence we have in our people’s resilience and their ability to adapt to change. Our Flow metaphor also relates to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Imagine AI as a powerful stream of technology and data, and flow as the smooth and efficient movement of tasks and information…read more

The themes that this year’s conference focused on were:
AI and the Future of Work & Play
– Digital Agency in an Age of Corruption
– Digital Rights/Threats and The Relevance of Privacy
– Sustainable Financing for Us

SPONSORS

We would like to thank these sponsors for their support of the #AfricaFlows conference

Highlights from the #AfricaFlows Conference

Check out these highlights from our 4-day event at the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Johannesburg.
A big thank you to everyone who joined us at Africa’s foremost civic tech and media innovation event.

Speakers

ONLINE EXHIBITions

This year’s exhibition’s primary focus was to showcase African civic tech and media innovations that demonstrate African ingenuity and adaptability in difficult climates. The exhibitions focused on:
– Impact Stories — practical experiences, results, and lessons learned
– Newbies — Starting out stories by new innovators in civic tech/journalism & media
– Cutting edge — new methods/tools/techniques, experimental projects, etc.
– Change-makers — Examples of where people are creatively solving their own problems through data / digital innovation around Africa
– Ecosystem supporters and enablers — Toolkits, training, services, etc. that are enabling civic tech
– Theme focus — This year, we particularly invite innovators creatively using Artificial Intelligence/Machine learning

Check out this year’s exhibitors below:


Weekly Exhibition Hangouts

The exhibition hangout is a conversation among peers, who are innovators, and developers in the civic tech space on the continent. Each ‘hangout’ focused on a particular theme most aligned with the work being done by these initiatives. The ‘hangouts’ are a relaxed space for exhibitors to share and learn from each other’s experiences, and offer a pathway for other innovators and aspiring innovators in the room.
*Please note that due to a technical failure, the third weekly hangout from this year’s series is not available.

This exhibition hangout focused on initiatives working in ‘Open Data and Democratic Participation. Joining the hangout were OpenUp‘s Shaun Russel, Charter Project Africa‘s Sarah Gowon and African Child Project‘s Catherine Kimambo

This exhibition hangout focused on initiatives whose tools were built for accountability and transparency and its entities. Joining the hangout were Mzalendo Trust‘s Loise Mwakamba and Open Institute‘s Loise Mboo

Music at #AfricaFlows

CTIF and Jamfest have an emergent tradition of celebrating African innovation alongside the recognition and enjoyment of the artistic and cultural talents that inspire Africa’s creativity. This year, we continue in this tradition by inviting to the stage the wonderful Saxophonist ‘Psychosax’. Psychosax aka sis a 23-year-old female musician born in Alexandra, South Africa. She is well known for her beautiful music production and performances on the saxophone. She has been awarded for her saxophone performances from Wits University, TRACE TV, national competitions, and more. In addition, she is the Head of the Music department at the Royal Academy of Creative Arts.

Media Partnership with VOWFM

This year we partnered with Voice of Wits FM (VOWFM) as our official media partner. VOW FM 88.1 is a 24-hour campus radio station broadcasting from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The station made its debut broadcasting in English in the 90s, with the support of The Wits Centre for Journalism. VOW FM targets young people, majority of whom are university students based in Braamfontein and surrounding areas. They are between the ages of 18 and 28, drawn from the diverse Jozi community irrespective of economic, social, religious, and cultural backgrounds.

At the Civic Tech Innovation Forum & Jamfest they spoke to some of our speakers and attendees about the work they do and their interests at the conference.

Interview with Mxolisi Bhebhe from Uber Eats South Africa

Area Code spoke to Mxolisi Bhebhe, the Gauteng Territory Lead at Uber Eats. Bhebhe talks to VOWFM about Uber’s contribution to digitising the Township economy in South Africa. He speaks specifically about their most recent partnership with the Gauteng provincial government.

Interview with Hamid Khayar Defallah from Chad Innovation

Hamid Khayar Defallah is a Mandela Washington Fellow 2016, Chadian entrepreneur, founder & CEO of Chad Innovation, a Tech Hub based in N’Djamena, allowing people to incubate their ideas and turn them into startups. Chad Innovation is a center for workshops, conferences, case studies, and Peer-to-Peer sessions related to smart technologies, business, society, and infrastructure. since 2020.

Interview with Phillip Ayazika from Pollicy

Phillip Ayazika is a digital rights and technology project manager with a proven track record in designing and implementing data, design, and technology blended programs. With a passion for integrating digital technologies into development interventions, I am dedicated to co-creating an inclusive and safe digital ecosystem for all individuals.

Interview with Harvey Binamu from Magamba Network

Harvey Binamu is Tech Project Officer, at the Magamba Network. As Magamba Network’s tech officer, he spearheads technology strategy and development, overseeing research, team management, and infrastructure alignment with their strategic goals. His contributions span various domains including Civic Tech Strategy and Expansion, Artificial Intelligence Strategy, and Hardware and Software Development.

Interview with Matthew Adendorff from Open Cities Lab

Matthew Adendorff is a Data Science Lead and CTO at Open Cities Lab. He has completed a PhD in Computational Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In his role as lead technologist, Matthew oversees the design and implementation of computational infrastructure, web app deployment, data analysis pipeline construction, and the application of machine learning algorithms for insightful processing of information.

Interview with Yosr Jouini from Technoloxia

Yosr Jouini is an interdisciplinary researcher studying emerging technologies and their social implications in the global South. She leads work at Technoloxia, a North African-based collective with a mission to provide community-centered perspectives on the region from the region. Yosr is the founder of Accessibility ABCs, an initiative promoting accessibility across digital platforms. She also hosts the ‘Digitally Yours podcast‘, which specialises in digital rights. .

Interview with Joseph Kirai from Ushahidi

Joseph is Monitoring, Evaluation and Implementation Officer at Ushahidi. He is an expert in design, coordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, research, and learning frameworks. He has over 5 years of experience working with communities on different projects, notably, the COVID-19 response initiatives in informal settlements of Kenya, Gender Action Learning System (GALS) initiatives by Hivos Kenya, and the Mbrella project by the Center for Advanced Hindsight. He believes that communities have the strength and best solutions to their own problems if facilitated. He champions for evidence-based approach to clearly understand what works well for communities.

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MEDIA

Jamlab Africa, Civic Tech Innovation Network host a four-day conference themed #AfricaFlows
Jamlab Africa and the Civic Tech Innovation Network will be hosting a four-day conference from Monday, to showcase innovation in civic and media technology across the continent. The theme of the conference is #AfricaFlows. The event will focus on Artificial Intelligence and its impact both in civic and media innovation. Other focus areas include digital rights and threats, digital agency in the age of corruption and sustainability of the journalism and media industry. The SABC spoke to Lindokuhle Nzuza, Project Coordinator: Jamlab Africa for more details on the conference.

Prof. Geci joins POWER 987 to chat about the #AfricaFlows Conference
The Civic Tech Innovation Network’s National Organiser, Geci Karuri-Sebina joined POWER 987 Weekend Breakfast host, Tshegohaco Moagi. to chat about what listeners could look forward to at the upcoming #AfricaFlows conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. Listen below:

Press Release: #AfricaFlows – Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Changing Nature of Work & Play
#AfricaFlows builds on a series of exciting themes over the years, this time commenting on the advent of AI and its possibilities – good, bad, or neutral. It’s a great place to be, should you want to connect with other dynamic, African grassroots and media technologists who are building toward their own better futures…read more

ORGANISING Partners

We would like to especially thank our conference organising partners for their collaboration and assistance with planning CTIF & Jamfest 2023.

The South African Cities Network (SACN) was established in 2002 as a network of South African cities and partners that encourages the exchange of information, experience and best practices on urban development and city management. Working together with South African cities and partners through research, knowledge sharing, peer learning and innovation, the SACN is at the forefront of efforts to achieve the urban futures vision outlined in the Integrated Urban Development Framework [IUDF] and the National Development Plan (NDP).

The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival is at the forefront of Africa’s culture and technology scene. Explore what we have stood for over our 10 years below. Our festival is rooted in showcasing and developing skills in technology, art and culture in Africa. Founded in 2014 as a collaboration between the Tshimologong Precinct and the Wits School of Arts, Digital Arts Department, the festival takes as its starting point the idea that for innovation with technology to succeed, a strong connection needs to be made between African cultural practices and creative encounters. Fak’ugesi is hosted annually at the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct.

Lead Organisations

The Civic Tech Innovation Network (CTIN) is a community of Practice (CoP) and an action learning network – The CTIN Community Is made up of practitioners, leaders, activists, technologists, researchers, and public servants with an interest and commitment to leveraging the nexus between technology and civic activism. CTIN is committed to a society that is more just, equitable, and sustainable. As such, CTIN supports its community towards the growth, development, and effective use of appropriate digital technologies and methodologies in connecting government and citizens, in public participation, in transparency and accountability and in delivering public services.

Jamlab Africa, short for the Journalism and Media Lab, is a project of the Wits Centre for Journalism. Jamlab Africa aims to support more and better innovation in journalism and media in Africa. The project has three programmes which mutually support each other namely; Accelerator Programme, Community of Practice and Knowledge Programme. Jamlab has an online magazine where they document innovations taking place across the continent and share learnings. Under the Accelerator Programme, we take media entrepreneurs across the continent on a six-month hothouse of mentoring, tools, and contacts to help their businesses.

The Wits Centre for Journalism (WCJ) offers several study programmes for aspiring and working journalists. Located in Johannesburg – at the heart of the country’s media – it is well-placed to work closely with both the industry and working professionals to ensure a rich and exciting centre of teaching, training, research and public engagement. The department is steeped in a tradition of independent, critical, quality journalism.

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg commonly known as Wits University or Wits, is a multi-campus public research university situated in the northern areas of central JohannesburgSouth Africa. The university has its roots in the mining industry, as do Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand in general. Founded in 1896 as the South African School of Mines in Kimberley it is the third oldest South African university in continuous operation.

The Wits School of Governance (WSG) regards itself as Africa’s leading school of Governance that facilitates research-led governance improvements. The School brings together practitioners and theorists from across the African continent to solve pressing challenges of development, inequality, and just transitions. WSG is a research-led, globally competitive and recognised postgraduate institution that seeks to achieve transformative governance in the public, private and non-governmental sectors.

Tayarisha is the Initiative on Digital Governance, established (2021) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. It is a hub for teaching, research, policy dialogue, and outreach on the challenges and opportunities presented by digitisation in the public sector, society, and industry in Africa.

CONFERENCE INFO

Venue

Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct

41 Juta Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg

Our conference venue is the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, a Wits University incubator located in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Tshimologong has hosted the CTIF & Jamfest events for many years and we are excited to showcase African innovation, resilience and collaboration at #AfricaFlows!

Tshimologong propels entrepreneurship and grows the skills pipeline for the digital economy through collaboration with academia, corporates, government and entrepreneurs. The emphasis is on providing skills and on-the-job training for unemployed youth while accelerating the growth of digital enterprises at every stage of their business and creating a pathway for students and entrepreneurs to showcase their work publicly and access commercial opportunities.

Setswana for “new beginnings”, Tshimologong catalyses the transformation of Braamfontein into a premier technology destination to raise the profile of African digital innovation by inspiring new talent and addressing rising youth unemployment. As a university-based incubator, Tshimologong Precinct further aims to commercialise the research of Wits University students.

Accommodation

Hyatt House Rosbenank

Address: 28 Tottenham Avenue, Melrose

Hyatt House Rosebank is the primary conference accommodation venue for speakers and delegates offering a special rate. The secondary hotel for accommodating delegates and speakers is the Capital on Bath in Rosebank.

For bookings contact: Thunyiswa Mateza Email: Thunyiswa.Mateza@wits.ac.za Mobile: +27835850298

Hyatt House Johannesburg Rosebank caters to overnighters and long-term guests with 80 modern one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and residential suites, equipped with a full kitchenette, designated working spaces, dining areas, spacious bedrooms and stylish bathrooms. Each unit also comes with a safety deposit box, complimentary Wi-Fi, a satellite flat-screen TV, ironing facilities, wardrobe and luxurious bath amenities. Enjoy the comforts and convenience of home when you’re away from yours. 

Transport

Transport vouchers for selected speakers will be provided. More details to be confirmed.

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