29 April 2013

Uganda: Makerere University Tops in Microsoft Talent Search

Kampala, Uganda — Makerere University (MUK) won the 2013 Microsoft Imagine Cup Finals beating nine other contestants, including Kampala International University.

MUK's Team Code8 won with Matibabu, an app (application) that diagnoses malaria without the need to prick any part of the body.

They now await the next stage to pit their brains against the rest of the world. Obviously pleased with their success, Josiah Kavuma, a third year IT student and mentor of the group said, winning this year's country finals is a great opportunity to represent Uganda at the forthcoming Worldwide Imagine Cup finals in July.

"It is a great opportunity to compete with students from around the globe who, like us, are passionate about making a difference in the world through technology," Kavuma said.

All Imagine Cup Worldwide Finalist teams are eligible to apply for Imagine Cup Grants, a three year $3-million investment by Microsoft to help students turn their ideas into reality.

This brainy competition centres on the use of imagination, creativity and technology to help solve some of the world's toughest problems. It was launched in 2003 globally and in East Africa during 2008.

For the first time since its inception, East Africa will be represented by two teams from Uganda and Kenya at the global finals hosted by St Petersburg in Russia.

While addressing a news conference the Makerere University, Microsoft Business Development Manager, Simon Onyango challenged young people to focus on developing technology applications that are wealth-creating, but also relevant to developing economies like Uganda.

"While many local developers have focused their work on developing consumer applications, it is important that they also look into the opportunities that exist in Business2Consumer Apps, Independent Software Vendors (ISV) Line of Business Apps and In House Line of Business Apps as these remain largely unexplored and present real business opportunities." Onyango said.

With an estimated 100 million students globally having no access to technology, the challenge has over the years been to improve technology transfer among university students in Uganda.

Onyango said: "Makerere University students have found pride in utilizing the Microsoft Innovations centre at the institution and therefore have over the years produced regional winners for more than five times.

As part of expansion of the challenge, other universities like Kyambogo and Uganda Christian University are to be included in the next challenge."

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