CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

12 February 2013

Africa: City Life Competition Winners Announced

Ericsson today announced winners of the Apps for African City Life Competition. Team Shinsekai from Senegal won first prize for developing an app that aims to support environmental sanitation and hygiene development in cities.

Second and third prizes went to two Kenyan teams, Easy Parking for their application aimed at helping motorists locate and pay for available parking areas thus reducing fuel consumption, and Tokelezea for their app which enables individuals to locate events and places around them and share the information with their friends.

The "Apps for African City Life" award was designed to inspire innovation and promote the development of mobile applications that address the demands of business and daily life in urban centers across Africa's Networked Society.

Ericsson's Sub-Saharan Africa Marketing and Strategy Head Shiletsi Makhofane said "Applications are an integral part of our vision for the Networked Society. Team Shinsekai developed an application that addresses global sustainability, and will improve the quality of life on the continent. We applaud them, and share the team's commitment to connecting people across Africa and beyond to a better life."

Dadja Matiasso Bassou, project leader for team Shinsekai said "Winning this competition is an accomplishment of our work and a reward for our strong conviction in what we are doing. We believe Information Technology can really help in keeping Africa's beauty and its people safe."

The 'Apps for African City Life' competition is part of the global 2013 Ericsson Application Awards (EAA 2013) - an ongoing annual competition for application developers worldwide, organized by Ericsson.

The regional competition opened on October 29, 2012 and ran until January 25, 2013. Entries were accepted in two categories - one for students and the other for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Teams were required to develop an application based on the Android platform that addresses the theme, 'Apps for African City Life' which is designed to promote the development of innovative ideas and mobile applications to address situations particular to urban centers across the region.

In tandem, the rate of urbanization in Africa is widely recognized as the most rapid in the world. In 2010, 47 African cities had populations in excess of one million. By 2020, Africa is expected to have 70 cities with populations over 1 million, including 11 mega-cities with 5 million inhabitants or more. According to the latest United Nations projections, between 2010 and 2030 the urban population of sub-Saharan Africa is projected to double, from 298 million to 595 million.

However, urbanization in Africa has yet to deliver the economic development and degree of prosperity that might have been expected. Inadequate education and physical infrastructure have constrained the efficient use of resources, and the industrial development that might have come with it. While ICTs, and in particular mobile technology, has dramatically transformed the way we live, work and play, there is still an untapped potential for it to be used in supporting social and economic growth, and well-being in the region.

The members of the winning teams in the regional competition will each receive top-of-the -range android tablets and all application submissions will be automatically entered into the global competition - EAA 2013 - "Apps for City Life", for the chance to win a €25,000 (KSh. 2.9 million) cash prize.

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