CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

Kenya: Ericsson Fetes Kenya Winners of "APPs for African City Life" Awards

Members of the two Kenyan teams - Tokelezea and Easy Parking - that emerged winners in the Ericsson "Apps for African City Life" awards that were announced in February this year have been by the company and awarded their prizes.

The five software developers - two from Tokelezea and three from Easy Parking - were each handed an "ASUS Transformer Pad" tablet. The Tokelezea app was voted the second prize while Easy Parking took the third position.

While handing out the tablets to the winners, Ericsson Kenya managing director, Robert Rudin, said that the company is set to have more significant impact in both Kenya and the region by developing solutions that can improve people's everyday life.

"The rate of IT innovation in Kenya is very commendable. In the 2013 edition of the Ericsson Application Awards, one third of the entries of the sub-Saharan contenders came from Kenya," noted Rudin. Tokelezea is an app that helps people find fun things to do around them like places to go, events to attend and cinema listings. Users can also find out what their friends are up to. The app, developed by Nick Hargreaves Onyango and Dennis Munene, enables users to search and also interact and share content around the places and events.

"Tokelezea helps people to find and locate what is happening around them and where. This includes places and events and also enables them to share their experiences with family; friends and colleagues," said Tokelazea's Nick Onyango. The second app, Easy Parking, is a mobile application intended to help motorists locate available parking areas easily. With the help of sensors installed in the parking lots, a user will be able to locate available parking lots. This will reduce time spent trying to look for a parking spot and eventually reduce fuel consumption. The app was developed by Thomas Kioko, Phoebe Mutua and Trevor Maingi.

"The Easy Parking app helps people to save time and fuel as well as money. I used to drop off Mum to work before heading to school and due to the problems related with locating parking spaces, I decided to develop the app," said Thomas Kioko. The overall winners of the competition was Senegal's Team Shinsekai who developed an app that aims to support environmental sanitation and hygiene development in cities.

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.

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 KSh. 2.7 million (€25,000) cash prize.

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