CAPE TOWN, South Africa, December 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- This week the Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa, South Africa, will play host to 30 of Africa's most influential oil and gas executives as they attend GDS International's highly anticipated CIO 30 Oil and Gas Africa summit (CIO 30 O&G Africa). The summits provide a highly productive environment for forward-thinking executives to collaborate and assess emerging trends and strategies that are proving critical to organisational effectiveness. Delegates engage in highly interactive workshops and focused panel discussions that offer moderated, peer-led evaluations of the major oil and gas issues in the African market, whilst one-to-one meetings give delegates the chance to meet with business analysts and solution providers to discuss strategies and solutions for the year ahead. With ten years' experience in the event hosting space, GDS International is renowned for attracting the most senior executives to its summits. This year's event will be no different, with Andrew Marks, CIO for Tullow Oil; Raymond Hoffmann, CIO for Total South Africa; Colin Prince, CIO for PetroSA; Thomas Sule, CIO for Oando; and Adel Eid Ali, CIO for Dana Gas, scheduled for attendance. There will also be a dynamic range of sponsors at the event, including: Orange Business Services, Vodacom, EMC, AST Modular, Aviat and Eaton. Bez Bezuidenhout, CIO for SASOL, was a previous CIO Africa attendee, and found real value in the two-and-a-half-day event. In his own words: "The CIO Africa summit is my first GDS International experience, and definitely not my last. I have also attended several similar events internationally. The CIO Africa Summit is on a par with the best in its class and exceeded my expectations. The quality of the networking opportunities was excellent, and I particularly liked the specific focus on CIO leadership topics. Well done!" Ben Williams, CIO 30 Oil and Gas Africa Summit Director for GDS International, the global events company behind CIO 30 O&G Africa, says: "Information has always been critical to the oil industry - information about new fields, about production levels, about potential risks and rewards. What has changed is the sophistication of the data collection, monitoring and analysis tools available to oil firms as they look to maximise returns from existing fields at the same time as discovering and exploring new prospects. Information - and your ability to use it well - has become a key differentiator as we enter the age of the digital oilfield." He continues: "It's why the role of the Chief Information Officer has become increasingly important to oil and gas firms looking to drive greater operational efficiencies on the one hand, and innovate in terms of unlocking new opportunities on the other. Harnessing the power of emerging technologies to address key challenges is crucial - data collection, storage and analysis, communications and collaboration, and improved infrastructure management are all areas in which the CIO can make a huge difference to oil firms' productivity. The challenge lies in making the right decisions, both technology-focused and strategy-oriented, to ensure you are an enabler of, rather than a stumbling block to, business opportunity. This is where The CIO30 comes in."