infoDev is proud to announce the successful bidders to host the African Regional Mobile Application Laboratory as part of the Government of Finland and Nokia program, Creating Sustainable Businesses in the Knowledge Economy program. The mobile apps labs will be focal points run and used by Africans working to increase the competitiveness of innovative enterprises working in mobile content and applications. There will be one lab each in East and Southern Africa where local companies, technologists and experts can collaborate to develop locally relevant applications that meet user demands and build sustainable businesses.
The *iHub consortium, comprising Nairobi’s iHub, eMobilis, the World Wide Web Foundation and The University of Nairobi School of Computing and Informatics, was chosen to host the East Africa lab.
In South Africa, the Meraka consortium, comprising the CSIR Meraka Institute, Innovation Hub, Innovation Lab and Ungana-Afrika, will collaborate to host the Southern Africa lab.
Announcing the winners at the AITEC East African ICT Summit, infoDev’s lead ICT policy specialist, Dr. Tim Kelly, said “These two successful consortiums were selected out of thirty nine original applicants; nine of which were shortlisted. The enthusiastic response to infoDev’s call for proposals is especially exciting as it has already created partnerships between applicants and also points out several avenues and organizations for future collaboration.”
Each lab will be a platform for building the technical skills, business nous and personal relationships needed to build scalable mobile solutions into thriving businesses that address social needs. As well as providing state of the art equipment, the labs will offer technical training and workshops and connect developers and entrepreneurs with potential investors, academic experts, and even public sector leaders.
The *iHub is Nairobi’s Innovation Hub which is an enabler and catalyst within the technology community. With the consortium comprising eMobilis, the University of Nairobi and the Web Foundation we seek to encourage open-innovation within the tech community.
Jessica Colao, manager of the *iHub , said; “iHub is the nucleus of what is already a vibrant technology community that lives and breathes open innovation. We work with everyone, sharing information, sparking ideas off one another to make enterprises more innovative and help technological innovators build businesses with entrepreneurs.”
In South Africa, the consortium of the Meraka Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Innovation Hub, Innovation Lab and Ungana-Afrika already boast wide and deep relationships in business, the public sector, civil society and academia. With many successful projects already delivered in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Meraka consortium brings together technology innovators every key sector across the region.
Laurens Cloete, acting Executive Director of the CSIR Meraka Institute, said “The Meraka consortium of the CSIR Meraka Institute, Innovation Hub, Innovation Lab and Ungana-Afrika is a great platform for the m-apps lab. We bring together key players in the southern African ecosystem with complementary expertise combining Meraka's R&D muscle with the world class facilities and incubation experience of The Innovation Hub which is further enhanced with the contributions from Ungana-Afrika and InnovationLab. With our strong links with government, universities and business in South Africa and many successful ICT collaborations within the countries of southern Africa we are excited about the potential of the m-apps lab.”