The New Times (Kigali)

17 February 2014

Rwanda: Samsung Pledges to Market Local ICT Innovators' APPs

Samsung electronics has pledged to help market apps (applications) made by local ICT (Information and Communication Technology) innovators on its website.

"We are ready to help Rwandan developers and entrepreneurs if they can make apps that will solve some of the challenges faced by the community. That should not be a problem at all, the opportunity is theirs to lose," Robert Ngeru, the Samsung Electronics East Africa chief operating officer, said.

The nascent local apps development sub-sector has for long been complaining about lack of investors to help market their innovations. However, sector observers say the challenge has been that most apps developed by local ICT innovators do not provide solutions to local problems.

Ngeru challenged the developers to think globally, but offer ICT solutions to problems that plague the society if they are to succeed.

"Developers should customise their apps and content to help solve community problems, ease processes, and contribute to the development of society," he said.

Ngeru was speaking to The New Times on the sidelines of the just-ended Samsung Africa Forum 2014 in Malaga, Spain. The event also marked the global launch of the firm's new products, including curved TV sets, tablets, triangle air conditioners, a battery or solar-powered TV sets, next generation still cameras, a four-door refrigerator, washing machines and printers, among others.

Last year, the forum was held in Cape Town, South Africa.

"Rwanda being an agricultural country, ICT developers could, for instance, come up with applications that will address some of the challenges the sector faces. This could be in produce marketing, input sourcing, disease detection and market research, among others."

Ngeru was, however, optimistic that local developers would up their game, saying Samsung Electronics has been supporting the country's ICT incubation centre, kLab, located in Kacyiru, Kigali.

He said the electronics firm has been providing advisers to local developers and ICT enthusiasts at kLab to guide and help them perfect their art and grow the sector.

Rwanda is looking to become an Information and Communication Technology hub in the region. The government also seeks to make ICT service provision a major driver of the economy.

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