By 28 June 2019 | Categories: news


Last month we saw the first SingularityU Exponential Finance Summit being held in Cape Town, and that event boasted an exemplary array of international speakers addressing everything from fintech and blockchain to the possibilities of living in an abundant world.

As mind-blowing as it was, that was the ‘baby’ summit, which paved the way for a considerably bigger SingularityU Summit to come. This will be taking place on the 16th and 17th of October at the Kyalami Grand Prix and Conference Centre.    

At the launch event, held in Rosebank earlier this week, SingularityU South Africa unveiled six of the speakers that will be presenting.

These include Sivan Ya’ari, the driving force behind InnoAfrica, which has supplied over 1 million people in rural areas in Africa with clean drinking water, using solar power, after identifying the need for a more sustainable energy solution.

Award winning scientist and futurist Ramez Naam, who has authored several books including The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet, which looks at the environmental and natural resource challenges of climate change, energy, food and water, will address the scientific and technological innovation needed to solve the energy challenges faced by Africa. Andres De Leon, the COO of Hyperloop Transportation, who are pioneering the full scale passenger capsule, will share how boundless thinking has enabled the future of mobility to include this remarkable transport solution.

Mic Mann

But wait, there’s more 

The fourth speaker announced was CEO and chief researcher at Next Bio Sciences, South African SingularityU Faculty member Kim Hullett. She is slated to share how advances in stem cell and genetic research are unlocking solutions to medical challenges around the world. SingularityU Canada robotics specialist faculty, Suzanne Gildert (pHD), who co-founded Sanctuary AI, with a mission to build synthetic humans, will discuss how we will have robots that will look like us and assist in the future will help us be more human.

The final speaker announced was Kris Øostergaard, who will present his perspective on transforming legacy organisations by embracing a new innovation framework and the exponential effects that this can yield.

Solving problems

What’s common to all six speakers is that they are all on the cutting edge, and each in their way, promise an innovative, future-focused approach, that can assist in unlocking Africa’s potential.

To this end, topics that will be addressed are designed to bring the most pressing issues facing the continent to the fore. According to SingularityU South Africa, the summit intends to equip the leaders of today and tomorrow with "the thinking and knowledge needed, to use technology to help pioneer a better future for all Africans.” 

“As part of our mission to future proof Africa, we are focusing on the most pressing problems and the technologies that can help address these. Innovation holds the key to the exponential solutions that can solve our education, energy, poverty and water challenges,” explained Mic Mann, co-CEO of SingularityU South Africa. 

More specifically, the third annual SingularityU South Africa Summit – which is expected to have 2 000 people attending - will focus on creating a collaborative and more economically-inclusive future, whereby partnerships and deals can be conceptualised and developed across the continent.

As was the case with the Exponential Finance summit, networking opportunities will allow attendees to connect with SingularityU faculty members and alumni. Furthermore, exhibitors will present ideas and investment opportunities that will run alongside the summit, as well as a youth summit to build up the next generation of leaders.

Kim Hullett

Serious support

The summit has some heavyweight partners backing it, including the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), Deloitte, MTN and Absa. Speaking at the launch was the Paul Currie, the chief investment office of the DBSA. He noted that there is “no doubt” that technological innovation will provide the impetus for rapid development in South Africa and the region.

“Technology now makes it possible to change the way services are delivered and the DBSA has been investigating solutions to infrastructure problems using new techniques and products.

Our relationship with Singularity gives the Bank additional insight into global innovation and how exponential technologies can help to address specific challenges, particularly in South Africa, where there are still huge divides,” he elaborated.

Given the economic difficulties the country currently faces, Currie had some heartening parting words: “If we can harness the untapped capacity that exists in the country, I believe we have amazing potential to  leapfrog and advance beyond where we ever imagined we could be,” he enthused. And that, apparently, is the whole point of summits like these that offer up  a buffet of top-notch, future-orientated speakers. 

“We believe we have the ability to unlock the potential lying in the African continent and lead the way in the fourth industrial revolution,” concluded Shayne Mann, the co-CEO of SingularityU South Africa.

Shayne Mann


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