Mobile apps growth in Kenya Catches Tech Investors' Eyes

Digital Content

Mobile application development in Kenya is gaining speed as players rush to tap into the vast pool of young tech entrepreneurs by offering training. Experts predict that mobile applications will be the next big thing in five years.

Initiatives like mLab East Africa and several others by Nokia has seen Kenyans benefit from fully-sponsored trainings on creation of mobile apps and how best to launch them into the market, revealing a growing interest in the sector.

Technology experts say the surge of investments into the mobile telephony sector is an indicator that the country is in step with the rest of the world in terms of software development as well as having the necessary pool of individuals to actualise it.

"Kenya has a clear competitive advantage in the mobile application development space with hundreds of programmers skilled in making everything from USSD and SMS services to Android and iPhone apps", said Erik Hersman, director of operations at the non-profit Ushahidi.

"It's such a big deal here that we're putting together a big event on June 14-15 called Pivot 25, where East Africa's top programmers and start-ups will vie for a position to pitch their new mobile apps and services to over 400 of the industry's leading experts and investors."

iHub, a tech community in Nairobi, has integrated with four other technology-focused start-up incubators like itself across Africa with the aim of creating a web of connections, support, and mentorship that will help technology entrepreneurs link and share innovations.

"Since the iHub concept has been so popular in Kenya, we are banding together with like-minded leaders of other labs and hubs around Africa to found AfriLabs, an association of African tech labs around the continent which will be the body that spreads this model across Africa", Hersman said.

The mobile app industry offers a worldwide market for developers which Ken Mwenda, managing director of eMobilis, likens to a global mall where you upload your application and if people like and download it, you get paid.