Budding mobile application developers find it difficult to market their products. However, two initiatives, one by Safaricom in partnership with Vodafone Group PLC and another by Demo Africa could reverse the situation.
Through a competition dubbed AppStar launched late last week, Safaricom and Vodafone will host applications from the competition on their respective stores for use by customers.
This will increase exposure of the apps across the multiple networks of the Vodafone Group.
DEMO Africa, on the other hand, plans to host an event on October 24 and 26 in Nairobi to link software developers with venture capitalists.
The company has shortlisted 150 applications of the 500 that had shown interest.
The Safaricomâ€™s AppStar, which is taking place in Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa, Tanzania, Egypt, Ghana and Qatar will end on November 21 with the winner taking home Sh1 million.
â€œWe recognise that the next phase of real innovation in the mobility space will come from local apps developers,â€ said Safaricom corporate affairs director Nzioka Waita.
All apps developed for the challenge must run on Android, BlackBerry, Symbian or Java operating systems.
Safaricom will spend more than Sh2 million on the competition. Overall winners and runners-up will compete with finalists from the other six countries for the grand prize from Vodafone in Johannesburg in December.
Vodacom Group deputy general manager, applications store and developer programme Karthik Srinivasan said: â€œWe recognise that huge app development talent exists in the emerging markets and in fact, only such developers can provide applications suitable for their respective markets.â€
Ben White, Founder of VC4Africa, a technology partner at the DEMO Africa shares the same sentiments.
â€œDEMO Africa is a unique opportunity to put some of the continentâ€™s top innovators in the spotlight. Most events focus on a region or theme. DEMO is different in that it shows innovation across the continent,â€ said Mr White.