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Apps4Africa highlighted in new Documentary

Apps4Africa and 2012 A4A Winner ProWork are featured prominently in this new mini-documentary “Inside DEMO Africa 2012″.

The inaugural DEMO Africa event took place last October 24-26, 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya. It provided a platform for 40 of the most innovative technology products from companies across the African continent with the opportunity to launch before a global audience of investors, media, strategic buyers, C-level executives and other entrepreneurs. This was the first time ever that a DEMO event was hosted on the African soil.

The DEMO conferences have earned their reputation for consistently identifying tomorrow’s cutting-edge technologies, and have served as launchpad events for companies such as Palm, E*Trade, Salesforce, Webex, Tivo, VMware and Fusion-io and thousands of others, helping them to secure venture funding, establish critical business relationships, and influence early adopters.

The second annual DEMO Africa conference will be held October 24 & 25th, 2013.

The film is part of the ongoing “Cheetah Code” web TV series chronicling Africa’s young entrepreneurs and emerging technology sector and can be found at CheetahCode.com or @cheetahcode on Twitter.

“Inside DEMO Africa 2012″ can be found on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/65979643. Runtime 00:23:54

African Tech Innovations: The Missing Link

By Mariéme Jamme, Apps4Africa Consultant

Each time I return from Africa, I have the feeling that progress is happening on the ground but something is missing. People are desperately and rightly demanding change.

 

During my visits to Kinshasa, Ghana and Senegal for the Apps4Africa 2012 Competition brainstorming sessions in particular, I witnessed from the innovators a real desire to innovate and have their voices heard. In Senegal, I met an African news team that produces AFRIQUEITNEWS, and Stephane Ndour, finalist of Startup Weekend, who created SAMAEVENT- the only online platform providing all the tools needed to register an event in Senegal. In Ghana, I met Allosyius Attah, founder of FARMERLINE and winner of Apps4Africa 2011, whose organisation provides a mobile and web-based system to furnish farmers and investors with relevant agro industry content to improve productivity and increase income. In Kinshasa, some upcoming, enthusiastic youth technologists showed me their new linux app, and discussed their desire to establish a tech hub where they can meet and innovate, something desperately needed in the DRC.

Therefore, I truly hope that the growing competitions and gatherings, such as Apps4Africa, Startup Weekend, Africa Gathering and BarCAMPS can give visibility and credibility to young African innovators and ultimately make them more profitable. Such brainstorming sessions and gatherings, where people meet to share ideas and learn, could form the missing link by helping to create a culture of entrepreneurship and trust, to challenge and empower the technology entrepreneurs to do more for Africa.

Reality Checks and Talks in Apps4Africa Brainstorming Sessions

However, I remain unsure about how the mosaic of demands and desires will be met without an urgent change of the mind-set of policy makers in Africa and the entrepreneurs themselves. Whilst an African Technology Revolution is taking place, many of the young innovators still face huge problems of understanding how to build sustainable businesses around their innovations. Most are following their dreams, inspired mostly by the stories of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, and succeeding without clear business plans or structured road maps when they started their businesses many years ago. The reality check has not yet taken place in the minds of African innovators and much time is being wasted on unrealistic ventures.

Apps4Africa is the only competition with an educational element to analyse local problems though hard-talk and debate. I found that the gap between creating ideas and creating a business around them is still massive. Hence this year’s Apps4Africa theme was very timely and relevant. 

We took the journey this year wishing to find the tech CEO who can not only innovate, transform, and solve local issues, but can also start a business around their innovation, ultimately creating jobs and reducing poverty in their communities.

“Our goal is to catalyze the growth of Africa’s early-stage startups to address the issue of youth unemployment across the continent. Africa needs to create at least 120 million jobs by 2012 to maintain its current trends of a growing middle class. Those jobs are not going to come from government mandates or multi-national corporations; they are going to come from successful startups and entrepreneurs. With Apps4Africa 2012, Appfrica and our partners at the State Department, [email protected], and the World Bank are demonstrating our commitment to addressing this problem now and in the future!” Jonathan Gosier

A moment of Reflection

The Apps4Africa brainstorming sessions are only possible with the amazing collaboration of innovators and business experts from the African Diaspora returning in Africa and few exceptional locals, for whose support and enthusiasm I am truly grateful.

At the end of my journey, I was convinced that Africans have many great ideas, and that supporting innovation helps entrepreneurs provide jobs for their communities.  They also have the ability to create many applications- we have scores of apps being developed across the continent currently. However, the great majority of entrepreneurs in Africa need more business mentoring and within their countries. There exists neither the ecosystem to address this nor a culture of entrepreneurship and risk taking required for success.

I believe that African policy makers need to invest seriously in creating more business schools and putting the right infrastructures into place to build the private sector industry of Africa.

I also believe that is an urgent need to equip young Africans with the right business innovation skills. Competitions such as Apps4Africa, where tangible results have been shown, need to happen more often to help more innovative business to be created. I believe that this will spread the culture of true entrepreneurship. Africans creating real meaningful Business in Africa is now a necessity.

 

 

Important questions

As you enter the 2011 Apps4Africa: Climate Challenge, here are a few questions you should ask yourself about your application. We hope these questions can help direct you in your application development.

1. What group/audience/users in your country or community does your app target?

2. How is climate change affecting that group– what is the local climate change challenge?

3. How does your app help them adapt to that climate change challenge?

Good luck and get coding!

Climate-Smart Agriculture

Apps4Africa was at the recently concluded Climate-Smart Agriculture Workshop hosted by the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme that took place in Nairobi from the 24th to the 27th of November, 2011. The workshop intended for the attendees to have enhanced knowledge about climate-smart agriculture and implement these lessons in their own contexts. Apps4Africa was there to see if any of these plans would be made easier with applications that entrants into the competition could design.

We attended the Gallery Walk portion of the workshop where each country gave a 20 minute presentation on the challenges facing them that are caused by climate change and how they are going to use climate-smart agriculture techniques to adapt to the climate change challenges.

The one challenge that was evident across all the countries was a dissemination of information on climate-smart practices to the people who actually need to implement them or a general lack of knowledge on the implications of certain practices in the context of the changing climate.

All the people there were really excited and motivated and since many of them were representatives from their government’s Ministries of Environment, there is a lot of support in these circles for applications that would help them implement climate-smart agriculture.

This is your cue, developers, build applications and enter them into the competition knowing you don’t only win awesome prizes but that your application will have a market and will be put to good use.

Eastern Africa Regional Opening Event

As the competition in Western Africa continues with us receiving an unprecedented amount of entries, it’s almost time for the competition to begin in Eastern Africa.

iHub Map

The opening event is scheduled for the 19th of October at the iHub in Nairobi. If you would like to attend, please click the link http://apps4africa.eventbrite.com/ to reserve your spot. You, especially, don’t want to miss the winner of last year’s Apps4Africa: Civic Challenge, iCow (http://icow.co.ke/), speak.

See you there.