/ 12 September 2019

​SingularityU South Africa Summit 2019 full schedule announced

Shayne Mann
Shayne Mann, co-chief executive of SingularityU South Africa, is optimistic about Africa's future



SingularityU South Africa has announced the final line up and schedule for the much-anticipated SingularityU South Africa Summit 2019. Bringing together more than 25 international and local speakers, this event aims to address Africa’s biggest challenges, on October 16 and 17 2019 in Johannesburg. Now in its third year, this groundbreaking event aims to further Singularity’s mission to increase the accessibility of new technologies, and help future-proof Africa by bringing thought leaders from around the world together to share their expertise.

Dutch researcher in philosophy of technology, cultural analysis, and post-humanism, and Singularity University faculty fellow Alix Rübsaam studies the societal and cultural impact of exponential technologies. Her talk will focus on the implications of Artificial Intelligence in the software age.

Dr David Bray, SU faculty on impact and disruption, who has served in a variety of leadership roles in turbulent environments, is chief strategy officer for the advanced geospatial company MapLarge and serves as president of the non-profit startup Hu-manity.org, focused on ensuring individuals have continuous choice and consent about their personal data. At the upcoming summit, he will talk about smart food supply chains and big data management as well as why leaders must embrace exponential change.

Bas Verkaik, who holds an MSc degree in Sustainable Energy Technology from the Eindhoven University of Technology, was part of the STORM Eindhoven team of 23 students who pioneered an electric motorcycle on which to ride around the world in 80 days. After finishing the unique world tour in 2016, Bas founded the STORM spinoff SPIKE Technologies. With SPIKE, he is developing battery solutions that will enable electric vehicles to meet their full potential. The topic for his talk is: Around the world in 80 days on a revolutionary electric motorbike.

The inspiring Tilly Lockey, who was diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis at a young age and sadly lost both of her arms, will talk on robotics. Her presentation draws on her personal experience using two 3D-printed, customised arms, and her role as a leader in the development of technology in this field.

Graduating as the youngest in his class as a medical doctor at age 23 in Denmark,Dr Habib Frost, now chief executive of Neurescue, will speak on the future of medicine and digital biology, having worked with sensors, robotics and the gene-editing technology CRISPR.

Chief executive of Singularity Nordic, the dynamic Laila Pawlak is passionate about innovation through human-centred design. A much sought-after speaker, her talk will focus on the exponential mindset needed to kick-start innovation, create disruptive businesses and scale positive impact.

Attendees can also look forward to hearing from futurist and immersive-technologies strategist Rachel Sibley, who helps Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs worldwide ramp into exponential mind-sets and strategically deploy immersive technology, through her talk on leveraging Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality for impact.

Arturo Elizondo, the chief executive of Clara Foods, a food-biotech company making real protein without using any animals, such as the world’s first animal-free egg white, will take to the stage to address the future of protein.

Amin Toufani, the Singularity University chair for exonomics, who brings a unique set of technological, entrepreneurial and policy perspectives to the dialogue of innovation, will be speaking on exponential business models.

The South African speakers are equally insightful. Yale University Mandela Washington Fellow, Murendeni Mafumo, is a water scientist with 10 years’ experience in the water and sanitation sector. His talk will address the use of the use of nanotechnology and renewable energy to significantly improve accessibility to drinking water.

Phathizwe Malinga, the SingularityU South Africa faculty member focussed on connecting the Internet of Things (IoT) will share how to use the resultant Big Data and the power of smartphones to help solve some of Africa’s grand challenges.

WeWork chief executive Stafford Masie, who is regarded as one of the continent’s leading tech entrepreneurs and a futurist with a conscience that drives everything he does, will address the future of humanity in his presentation.

Known as the “fanatical technologist,” Adam Pantanowitz, SingularityU South Africa faculty member, enjoys solving seemingly unsolvable problems, particularly with the help of cloud computing and machine learning. His work has resulted in a number of patents, academic papers and creations, and he also cofounded a number of businesses in South Africa. Pantanowitz will talk on the way his personal journey has enhanced his life and motivated his research, in his talk titled Step Change.

Renowned for her expertise, published author Geci Karuri-Sebina (pHD) SUSA faculty on cities and governance will address the future of food and the strategic thinking and planning required to optimise food security in her talk titled Feeding Future Cities in Africa.

Valter Adão, SUSA faculty on future of work, who works at the intersection of strategic and innovation thinking with emerging technologies and design, will share his knowledge regarding restructuring the future of work.

The speaker line-up for this year’s summit was announced at an immersive virtual reality press conference, the second of its kind on the continent hosted by SingularityU South Africa. Including participants from three different countries, the event demonstrated the speed at which this technology is developing, showcasing its remarkable progress in only one year and highlighting the importance of collaborating as a global community to use new technology to unlock solutions for the world’s grand challenges.

The new speakers announced add to the initial line-up that was announced earlier this year: Sivan Ya’ari, the driving force behind InnoAfrica; award winning scientist and futurist Ramez Naam; Andres de Leon, the COO of Hyperloop Transportation; founder and chief executive of Next Bio Sciences, SingularityU South Africa faculty member Kim Hulett, Canadian robotics specialist Suzanne Gildert (pHD), SU Canada faculty who co-founded Sanctuary AI, with a mission to build synthetic humans, and Kris Østergaard SU Nordic, who will present an innovative perspective on transforming legacy organisations by embracing a new innovation framework and the exponential effects that this can yield.

“As part of our mission to future-proof Africa, we have assembled an outstanding speaker line-up to address Africa’s most pressing challenges and the technologies that can help address these. Innovation holds the key to the exponential solutions that can solve our education, energy, health, poverty, food and water challenges,” said Mic Mann, co-chief executive of SingularityU South Africa.

The SingularityU South Africa Summit is hosted in collaboration with The Development Bank of Southern Africa, global partner Deloitte, and strategic partners MTN and Absa.Classic 1027 is the radio partner for the SingularityU South Africa Summit 2019.

The summit will showcase how technology can be used to solve various global challenges. It aims to address the most pressing issues facing Africa, by hosting global thought leaders in the areas most in need of attention on the continent.

“We believe we have the ability to unlock the potential lying in the African continent and solve some of the major issues that face us as a nation. I’m positive about South Africa’s future,” added Shayne Mann, co-chief executive of SingularityU South Africa.

The third annual SingularityU South Africa Summit will focus on creating a collaborative and more economically inclusive future, whereby partnerships and deals can be conceptualised and developed across the continent. Networking opportunities will allow attendees to connect with SingularityU faculty members and alumni. Exhibitors will present breakthrough ideas and investment opportunities that will run alongside the summit.

Book now for the third annual SingularityU South Africa Summit

When: October 16 and 17 2019

Where: Kyalami International Convention Centre

Cost: Early adopter tickets:R16 650 (sold out), standard tickets: R18 500, late mover tickets: R20 350. Tickets limited to 1800 attendees.

What to bring: An exponential mindset and your networking skills

Register here

Quotes from SingularityU South Africa Summit Partners

Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA)

The DBSA’s vision is to build Africa’s prosperity and 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.


Innovation plays a major role in any industry, and so in an unpredictable and constantly shifting business environment, we aspire to act as connectors between ideas, areas of expertise, industries, people and geographies such that we accompany organisations as they navigate through the future.

Our alliance with Singularity University affords us the opportunity to participate as a global partner in the annual SingularityU Summit. Globally, SingularityU summits have developed into a point of inspiration and connection for the local community, an opportunity to highlight breakthrough ideas and technologies and a catalyst to accelerating a local culture of innovation. For Deloitte, it’s tremendously exciting to be part of the third annual SingularityU Summit in South Africa as we continue to walk with our clients on an exponential journey to #futureproofafrica.


MTN believes that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life and in giving back to our communities in an impactful way. As such, MTN consider it important to understand the potential change that rapidly evolving social and technological developments could have on our environments and communities. The partnership with SingularityU South Africa affords us the opportunity to stay on top these developments.


We are living in a time of extraordinary change and technological disruption. But one thing is clear: if this fourth industrial revolution has the potential to ring in a new era of social progress and strengthened societies, we need to improve access to technology and educate everyone so they can fully benefit from the opportunities it opens up. Without a decisive plan for inclusivity at all levels of our society, this revolution will fail the very people it should benefit the most. We are therefore excited to be a part of SingularityU South Africa’s journey as it embeds our commitment to partnering with different thought leaders to ignite change and redefine the future of our continent.

About SingularityU South Africa

SingularityU South Africa is the seventh country partner of Singularity University and the first in Africa. It is hosted in collaboration with our country partner The Development Bank of Southern Africa, global partner Deloitte, and strategic partners MTN and ABSA. Our massive transformative purpose is to build an empowered network of globally connected change-makers across Africa who are able to innovate and implement solutions that will solve some of the continent’s greatest challenges.

We want to leapfrog Africa into the fourth industrial revolution. We can do so by empowering its people to create abundant, sustainable, and holistic ways of living and working. In this way, we can #futureproofAfrica. We apply SU’s approach of applying exponential technology and thinking to solve South Africa’s and the continent’s greatest challenges around unemployment, education, infrastructure, energy, and medicine, among others. As a catalyst for change, SingularityU South Africa runs customised education, innovation, and impact programmes that help others leverage rapidly accelerating technologies — including artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, blockchain, and digital biology — in innovative ways to unlock solutions that can positively impact millions of lives.