Gitex Africa Kicks Off in Marrakech

Gitex Africa Kicks Off in Marrakech
Gitex Africa Kicks Off in Marrakech

The second edition of Gitex Africa, a tech and startup fair, kicks off in Marrakech, with the participation of over 1400 exhibitors from more than 130 countries.

Despite the 27-degree Marrakesh heat, thousands of people in impressive suits descended on the Boulevard Al Yarmouk, causing pedestrian traffic. GITEX, the biggest African technology and startup showcase, began.

In the world of technology, tags like “biggest” can seem like meaningless superlatives, but the size of the venue and the crowd on day one suggest GITEX is spot-on with its claim.

2023 drew a 25,000-strong crowd and the organizers plan to double that number this week. On the strength of the number of GITEX buses waiting to ferry attendees to the venue from all the major hotels in the city: mission accomplished. The name tags that show where participants are from is also a roll call of every African country.

The size of the exhibition hall is dizzying—GITEX is historically a tech exhibition—and it is easy to clock your 10,000 daily steps by walking around. Some of the world’s most recognisable companies are here: Huawei, PwC, Visa, and McKinsey. There is also a horde of startups in foodtech, healthtech, mobility, fintech and cleantech.

Inaugural GITEX Africa leaves a firm imprint of Morocco’s surging tech ambition.

In the bathroom, a sticker on the tap tells me Africa does not have a native social media platform and asks me to sign up. There are several interesting startups here that want to show and tell you their unique thinking about several problems across the continent.

At the Elevate stage, ten startups are trying to convince a panel to award them the $100,000 prize sponsored by Tamwilcom. Many of the ideas sound like good old financial technology, but most of the speakers manage to squeeze in a mention or two of artificial intelligence.