CC image courtesy of The World Bank.
AfricaHackTrip is aiming to extend the programme for local African developers for a follow-up visit to Europe, following its three week-long journey across the continent.
HumanIPO reported last month on the initiative’s schedule, travelling across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.
Aiming to check out the local tech communities and engage with African developers, European developer Gregor Martynous and his team set out on September 24 to begin the journey.
Speaking to HumanIPO, Martynous said: “Following up, that is what makes the difference. We don’t know how but we definitely will.”
African developers are now keen to return the favour and continue the incentive by engaging in a EuroHackTrip.
Although willing to assist, AfricaHackTrip feels it is rather an opportunity for Africans to invest time and resources than provide a free package to locals they have been engaging with.
“We want to have the developers and designers from Africa owing this project and making it work,” he said.
Martynous mentioned one of the highlights of the trip was the local development of applications which were extended as it was adapted in other African countries.
One such an example is Ping, an app developed following the Westgate attack in Nairobi, through which colleagues, friends and families can determine who has been affected by a crisis situation.
The app has been adapted by developers in Kigali, Rwanda, for further use.
Another example is dozepa, a platform providing context-based sentences in Swahili, which has been adopted across the countries they travelled in.
He believes with time collaboration between African countries will become organic.
“Creating the community and the great atmosphere – that is the challenge right now. It needs to grow organically,” Martynous said.
Martynous feels Kigali shows the most potential as the government is really supportive in assisting the local ICT industry with policy and there are a lot of opportunities for IT to solve problems.
“I walk in the street and I see so many problems that ICT could help with,” he said.
“There is so much potential, there is still so much that can be created from scratch.”
He explained both Europeans and Africans can benefit from this kind of trips with tools and opportunities to be exchanged.
“If people come here and are open-minded, then they should come, but if they want to bring their solutions and just apply them to the local markets, that is not going to work,” he said.
He continued to explain the increase of trips to Africa from Europe is not the solution, but rather the motivation behind it.
As AfricaHackTrip had no business motives, the local developers were happy to receive visitors who came to listen rather than talk.
“The kind of initiatives that came from the Western countries helped maybe in the short term but did a lot of damage on both sides and what would happen in the IT district is that the pre-conditions are very similar,” Martynous said.
About to return to Europe, AfricaHackTrip aims to also spread the word about their findings among contacts in Zurich, as well as keep in touch with their newly established contacts to continue building trustworthy relationships.