Written by Topco Staff Writer



Cape Town, 1 December 2020 – Africa Tech Week 2020, one of the continent’s best tech summits kicked off yesterday. The entirely virtual event attracts industry leaders, experts and entrepreneurs from across Africa. A two-day summit, the aim is to spark innovation through meaningful engagement. Beyond the summit, Africa Tech Week seeks to recognise those making strides for impactful change in the industry with their awards which took place last week. In a shake up to the norm the Africa Tech Week Awards was combined with the Future of HR awards to celebrate innovators, game changers and leaders in the HR and technology fields. Hosted by beloved South African personality, Leanne Manas, it was a glitzy albeit virtual affair.

“As part of our holistic pivot to a completely virtual model we decided to bring together two of the most exciting awards this year into one evening. Human capital and technology are actually intrinsically linked and to propel Africa to the next level of economic potential we need to stop thinking of them in silos, which is what we hope to catalyse with our events,” says Ralf Fletcher CEO of Topco Media, the organizers of the awards.

The keynote address was delivered by internationally sought after speaker and bestselling author, Verne Harnish. The founder of the scaling up methodology addressed one of the key concerns, which is about leadership in the face of adversity. Harnish explained that, “the leaders that we have left have only one job left to do which is to care. As leaders we absorb fear and exude hope.” Harnish echoed sentiments discussed during the first day of the Africa Tech Week summit which had industry trailblazers such as Brett White, CEO of Zapper, Tony Saldana, Bestselling Author, and Jacques Vermeulen, Group CEO of Coke, to name a few. 

While the day focused on innovating for the future, the evening focused on recognition for the strides already made. BMW South Africa one of the largest names in the automotive industry received the award for Best Learning and Development Strategy which was no small feat considering the pandemic, “while we were able to pivot to a great digital learning component, we faced the major challenge of translating what would ordinarily be hands on type training for production, in an effective digital manner. But, we are excited at the progress that we’ve made and how we can continue to build on the strides we’ve made for the future,” explains Charissa Hector, Director of HR, BMW South Africa. View the full Future of HR winners list here.

Overall the big winner for the evening was Nedbank, walking away with three awards they scooped the Employer of Choice for Large Organisations, the Africa Tech Digital Transformation and the Africa Tech CIO Award. As Razien Donger explained, “we are thrilled to be recognised in all these areas and it is testament to putting people and technology at the heart of our business.”

In fact a common thread amongst the winners was a focus this year on putting people first and using technology to support the efforts made by the teams. Other notable award winners include James Claude for Africa Tech CEO of the Year Award and Basalt which scooped the Technology Company of The Year Award whilst their CEO was commended for his leadership skills. Click here for the full Africa Tech Week winners list.

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