Day One @ Mobile Web East Africa

Mobile Web East Africa (#mwea2012) competition, organized by All Amber (UK) and hosted by ICT Board, kicked off at the Southern Sun in Nairobi Kenya yesterday morning. Here are some of the ideas which prevailed.

1. Chipuka (Certification for Software Developers)

Once again, Paul Kukubo spoke of a Professional certification for Kenyan developers (to readied by October 2012) dubbed Chipuka which is an initiative by the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the Kenya ICT Board. He explained that the Carnegie Mellon University was an indisputable choice for partnership due to their recognizable achievements in ICT. He also lauded Strathmore University and JKUAT as centers of techpreneurship excellence in Kenya.

We can’t doubt Carnegie Mellon, they have written code that takes rockets to the moon, that drives electric cars.” Paul Kukubo Said.

2. Blackberry and Android

A Blackberry representative to the competition lauded the impact of mobile, providing banking services to Africa’s largely unbanked population. On the other hand terming mobile access as a basic right, Chris Kirubi urged Blackberry to Research in Motion (RIM) to lower its handset costs.

And stamping a foot-hold on its support for Andriod, Safaricom’s Nzioka Waitta said the company was proud of its Android Vendors and promised to launch local content loaded app store in the 2nd quarter of the year.

3. Mobile Ads Vs TV Ads

InMobi, an advertising company claims to reach 50 million Africans through nearly 3 billion ad impressions monthly. Chris Kirubi thus does not understand why corporates are still spending fortunes in TV ads instead of using mobile ads. It is said that 70% of mobile users are comfortable with mobile advertising as they are with TV advertising. Other popular mobile ads networks in Africa include AdMob and BuzzCity.

4. Government role in ICT

The Government of Kenya is not far behind development of the ICT sector. Stating it’s plan, Dr Bitange Ndemo said it was important to encourage content and app development in the context of entrepreneurship. A citizen portal is soon expected to be launched by an e-government secretariat in Kenya.

Plans to establish a national incubator by mid this year targeting 25 of the most brilliant start-up ideas in Kenya annually are already underway. Kenyan Politicians were urged to promote mobile apps and technology, since people listen to them.

On a critical side, Chris Kirubi said, developers needed strong partnership with venture capitalists and the private sector, but first the government through its annual youth fund kitty.

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