There have been many predictions made by journalists, analysts and research houses that the “App” will eventually replace the current Internet, as we know it today. Having said that the App Developer community on the African continent is still very much in its infancy when compared to many other parts of the World.
There are many initiatives currently underway on the continent that are driving growth in this market though, for example some of the work being done by iHub in Nairobi, and that of Silicon Cape in Cape Town. Many technology-based conferences are also adding App developer contests to their agenda’s, such as the recent Mobile Web East Africa conference that took place in Nairobi towards the end of February 2012.
The App Developer contest held by Mobile Web East Africa, and sponsored by InMobi and Blackberry saw five developers pitch their Apps to a judging panel, who had the very difficult task of picking a winner.
A brief overview of the five applications:
1. Verified 100%: an app that allows users to verify education certificates and title deeds to ensure authenticity.
2. Hewa: an online mobile music marketing and distribution platform for Kenyan local artists and record labels.
3. Eat Out Kenya: a contemporary restaurant guide focused on Kenya.
4. mPayer: a cash and mobile money payment management app
5. eLimu: an interactive, engaging and fun app for children in the Kenyan Primary School eduction system to learn and revise for exams.
The winning app was eLimu, the founder Nivi Mukherjee says “eLimu hopes to make a significant and positive long term impact on the Kenyan youth by improving their: test scores, cognitive thinking skills, social/environmental consciousness and IT literacy.”
App development offers a huge opportunity for the African continent, providing a new platform for entrepreneurs to grow, and in turn providing employment prospects. Isis Nyong’o, VP and MD of Africa for InMobi says “The success of apps is linked directly to discoverability, utility and cost. One key challenge for developers is how to effectively distribute their app to the right target market. InMobi acknowledges this and enables developers to reach their target market in a cost-effective manner through our mobile advertising network.”
Part of the prize that eLimu was awarded is $1500 worth of advertising on the InMobi network, the largest independent network mobile advertising network. Moses Kemibaro, Africa Sales Director for InMobi says “we hope this prize will assist in growing the eLimu app, and as a result furthering education in Kenya”.