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02.10.2014 General News

Ghana Dominates Maiden African Content Awards - A Regional Initiative Of The World Summit Awards

By Nana Fosu Nyante

The World Summit Award, an initiative organized in the UN process of the World Summit on the Information society (WSIS), and led by Dr. Peter Bruick, is presenting this year for the first time the best products submitted as national best from 41 African countries. The African Content Award selects mobile content which tackles local challenges and demonstrates a strong impact on African society.

Africa and Africans are showing an increasing mastery and diversity of mobile solutions in response to local challenges.

Where do you live? A question that in the past would have led to a short story involving blue kiosks, kenkey sellers, rough roads, taxi stands, is now easily answered by Location Addressing System, SnooCode, an innovation by Ghanaian app developer Sesinam F. SnooCode is a new approach to solving the addressing problem in the developing world where even in urban areas most people live in houses without numbers and streets without recognized names. They cannnot easily access emergency services or register their addresses with service providers. SnooCode generates a 6 digit code like a UK postcode but because it's over 200 times more precise than the UK system you do not need a street name or even a house number.

SnooCode (www.snoocode.com) is one of the 8 winners of the maiden edition of the Africa Content Awards organised by the World Summit Awards, topping in the category of m-inclusion and empowerment. Ghana also had runners up in four other categories, m-Learning and Education- Ghana Reads; m-Government and Participation (www.votomobile.org), m-Entertainment and Lifestyle - Oware 3D, m-Media and News - Infoboxx SMS (www.txtghana.com). Ghana's domination of the leaderboard was closely followed by Egypt and Nigeria which each had one winner and two runners-up. Tunisia won in the M-business and Commerce category with the product Sales Kit (www.apptiv-it.com), and South Africa with a great M-Learning and Education app based on the Mixit platform (www.rethinking education.co.za) other winners came from Uganda, Kenya, Morocco.

The spread of winners from Cairo to Capetown with a long stopover in Accra demonstrates Africa's increasing capabilities in the area of Mobile Programming. Ghana's dominance, in terms of the numbers of the Ghanaians featured in the overall list of winners and runner-ups is a good indicator of the West African nation's vibrant community of mobile developers and start-ups. These are actively supported by an increasing number of IT hubs and groups like the Mobile Monday hosted by the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT. The Centre is also a leader in training for mobile apps development in Ghana and has recently introduced a special Youth Mobile training programme to supplement its 6-month professional expert level courses.

540 million users in Africa offer one of the fastest growing mobile phone markets in the world (source AfDB). Appropriate deployment of mobile technology will support African countries to leap-frog their developmental challenges. But mobile content offers millions of possibilities and varieties, and it is most important to select the real gems from costume jewellery.

The Director-General of AITI-KACE, Dorothy Gordon, who is Ghana's WSA national expert and the Africa spokesperson for the World Summit Awards explained that the rigourous judging process did not allow her to evaluate the Ghanaian apps which were seen by teams of judges drawn from all over the globe. She mentioned that the sheer raw talent of our apps developers resembles that of our youth football teams. “We now need to support them so that they can grow into leading African IT companies able to mobilise 100's of developers to build complex IT solutions suitable for all levels of Government and enterprise.” Speaking in Accra, she said “They are working hard and they need support in order to help grow their talent and business” .

About the Africa Content Award

The African Content Award selects and promotes mobile content pearls which tackle local challenges and have a strong impact on African society. This year's awardees offer with their most innovative solutions new ways of living in Africa, offering new perspectives to all citizens, leap-frogging Africa into a fast advance into mobile innovation. The regional winners will be awarded during the 2nd Ministerial Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa , organized by the African Development Bank , Morocco, Rabat, to be held at the Academy of Science and Technology Hassan II from October 14-17, 2014. The forum will bring together government representatives, private sector, academia, scientists, innovators, and civil society from the region. The African Content Award is organized in partnership with the African Development Bank, ITIDA, ISESCO, African Innovation Foundation & [email protected]

About AITI-KACE

The Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT is an agency under the Ministry of Communications with a mandate to develop the IT capabilities of institutions, individuals, organisations in the private and public sectors in Ghana and the sub-region. The Centre works to stimulate the growth of IT entrepreneurship and the innovation ecosystem in Africa through support for such initiatives as the WSA and creating platforms as the Innovation Month (i-Week) and Mobile Monday events. AITI-KACE convenes the WSA national qualifications in Ghana.

Contact information
Tel: 0302 679542 – 5, email: [email protected], www.aiti-kace.com.gh

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