Being TYPO3 at the Transform Africa Summit, 2023

Categories: Event Report, Community, Association, Marketing Created by Daniel Homorodean and Mathias Bolt Lesniak
Two men in dark suits standing outside a hotel entrance.
Daniel Homorodean and Mathias Bolt Lesniak at the conference venue in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. They were there to promote the strategic long-term use of open source software, such as TYPO3, to African governments. Photo: Private
Transform Africa Summit (TAS) is the continent's flagship conference on strategic digital transformation. The event took place in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, in April 2023. TYPO3 was also there, along with heads of state, government ministers, directors of national agencies and many more relevant stakeholders.

The conference was a great opportunity to develop new relationships and identify new opportunities for TYPO3 in Africa. It was also great to meet our friends from the government and private sector in Rwanda, who have thus far launched more than 270 TYPO3-based websites on subdomains.

 Mathias Bolt Lesniak and Daniel Homorodean attended the Transform Africa Summit in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, on 26–28 April 2023, as part of the activities of the TYPO3 Community Expansion Committee and the Meet TYPO3 initiative. Mathias is a TYPO3 Association board member and Daniel leads the Expansion Committee. See upcoming Meet TYPO3 events.

Daniel’s African Overture

While Mathias arrived directly in Zimbabwe from Norway, Daniel had already spent a week in Africa, visiting existing and potential TYPO3 communities. He visited Kampala in Uganda, Nairobi in Kenya, and Harare in Zimbabwe. 

Talking with tech communities, governments, and institutions about digitalization and our CMS creates valuable personal connections. It also puts TYPO3 CMS on the map as one of the tools that will help a government provide citizens with easier access to public services and encourage business, investment, and tourism.

In downtown Harare, Daniel attended a TYPO3 community event organized by TYPO3 Mentorship Program alumnus James ‘Dante’ Midzi and Tapi Manhombo at the Eight2Five Innovation Hub. The participants were enthusiastic, while also pointing out the challenges faced by the local web development ecosystem, which sees low demand, forcing most developers to freelance on international platforms like Upwork and Freelancer. Maybe a closer and holistic collaboration with the TYPO3 community can help create a sustainable local client portfolio?

Leapfrogging With Cooperation, Collaboration, and Sharing

The location for this year’s Transform Africa Summit (TAS) was Victoria Falls, a small city to the north-west of Zimbabwe, supported by the tourism attracted by the eponymous waterfall.  Not far to the west, the borders of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe meet, setting the stage for a truly international location.

Six presidents and one king spoke at the opening of the conference in a big tent on the lawn outside the Elephant Hills Resort hotel. Cooperation, collaboration and sharing were core topics among them all. This aligns well with open source ideals.

38 African countries are members of Smart Africa, the organization behind TAS. The African countries are aiming for rapid digitalization and opening their borders for trade across the continent. The word used is leapfrogging: skipping quickly from offline to fully digitally connected local communities.

TYPO3 is active in Africa to support this process—but not to make single websites or short-term results. Our focus is on strategic long-term use of open source software, building knowledge and independent business, as well as best practice, through medium-to-large-scale projects. Cooperation, collaboration, and sharing will only happen if we also foster business opportunities and build strong communities that see the value of contributing back into open source projects.

Opportunities and Meetings for TYPO3

After the formality of the conference’s first day, the hubbub of expensive cars and military security personnel surrounding heads of state gave way to a calmer atmosphere. With TYPO3’s Rwanda Report, we had great opportunities to speak and present to government ministers and NGOs from across Africa—and beyond.

TAS was also an opportunity to renew our existing connection with the Rwandan government and private sector, as well as the project’s funding partner, the German international cooperation agency GIZ.

Ready for the Next Big Thing

At the end of the three-day conference, we had talked about future projects with representatives from at least 11 African countries. We had also opened doors to collaborations with new organizations and private enterprises. Though we can’t tell you the details now, we’re already seeing new projects rising above the horizon.

After a short (but very wet) stop to look at the roaring Victoria Falls, Mathias set off to Oceania and Daniel crossed the border into Zambia for a few more days of meetings and explorations for TYPO3.

If you are part of our community, a TYPO3 Association membership supports the TYPO3 Expansion Committee, and the future of TYPO3 in Africa will require more than two travelers. To support more projects and connect our communities, we will need your help.

Does your agency have budding TYPO3 mentors, ready for a week abroad, or would you like to connect your brand with an innovative digital transformation project? Contact daniel.homorodean(at) for mentoring and sponsorship opportunities.

Additional contributors for this article
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