Archives For appfrica

Ebola2_432_1

Yesterday in New York I was invited by the U.S. Department of State to discuss my work as a member of the team behind Ebola Deeply.

My co-panelist was Nicole Walden of the International Rescue Committee in Liberia, an organization that has been based in-country for years, well before the current outbreak. It was interesting to hear her perspective, as she’s witnessed what was already a bad situation in Liberia (post-civil-war country with poor infrastructure and low-education) go from bad to worse. The presence of Ebola has hat several net affects, not the least of which is the fact that it’s devastated the economy of the country and disrupted the flow of the resources needed to fight other out-of-control diseases in the country like HIV and Malaria. There’s also the growing shortage of hospital beds and other medical equipment. The situations in Guinea and Sierra Leone are similar.

Her teams work on the ground is remarkable and it was fascinating to hear them explain it.

At Ebola Deeply we’re attacking a different set of problems. One is how do we better inform Western audiences (and Western media) about the Ebola outbreak by sharing the best information. My partners at News Deeply have worked with us to create a portal that presents a vertical ‘deep-dive’ into the subject of Ebola. Our other partner, Isha Sesay of CNN, has been diligently working in-country to bring attention to the affected countries, one of which is home for her (Sierra Leone). There she’s capturing survivor stories, interviewing various heads of State about policy decisions, and connecting with local partners.

The other aspect of the Ebola Deeply project is a health intervention strategy that leverages mobile phones to better inform communities in the affected countries. We wanted to go beyond text messaging because literacy in the affected countries is so low it we didn’t think it made much sense to broadcast text messages if no one could read them. Instead we’ve partnered with one of our Appfrica Fund portfolio companies Farmerline to develop new solutions for broadcasting audio content. This new service is called Mobile Wire and builds on mobile technology that Appfrica won the 2012 Knight News Challenge for.

If you’d like to read the full transcript of this press conference, you can find it here. Slides from the press conference appear below:

Screen Shot 2013-06-08 at 7.27.45 AM

Partnering for Global Impact™ (PGI) is a landmark initiative to facilitate transactions in impact investing and philanthropy through one-to-one meetings. The annual PGI conference is a unique forum that encourages participants to share knowledge, engage with issues, explore investment opportunities and partner with one another. Our goal is to create a dynamic community of leaders that will increase the capital directed to scalable and sustainable solutions for global impact.

PGI brings leading families, private investors and organizations together with practitioners and entrepreneurs to generate solutions for the world’s less fortunate. The event is designed to enable participants to learn about and pursue investment opportunities with both a social and a financial return. This strategy, known as “impact investing”, is one of the most significant new investment paradigms to emerge in recent times. Interest is growing exponentially as investors seek to achieve more meaningful returns in their portfolios and as philanthropists introduce business models into their activities.

Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson

Bahiyah Yasmeen, Executive Director of Appfrica, will proudly represent our company at PGI 2013 in Lugano, Switzerland.

Appfrica provides technology solutions that address problems in three areas: lack of accessible data about African markets, lack of communications infrastructure in rural parts of the continent, and lack of access to capital for African technology ventures.

Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson became involved in social entrepreneurship at a young age, partnering with a friend out of high school to run a fashion line that sourced and imported local fabrics from women’s cooperatives in Tanzania. She went on to explore the world of media and entertainment in order to obtain a well-rounded view of the media industry, eventually returning to her true passion: international affairs and social entrepreneurship.

Find out more about Appfrica at PGI2013 by clicking here.

Over the years Appfrica has evolved to be a multi-faceted organization which has spawned several spin-off initiatives that we’re proud of including HiveColab, MetaLayer and Abayima. As we pursue new endeavors and scale some of the existing ones, 2013 is shaping up to be a fantastic year!

Appfrica Org Chart

The Ones That Fail

Jon Gosier —  January 30, 2013 — 4 Comments

It’s always great to look at one’s current or past successes, but what about the failures? Every entrepreneur (hell, every person person) has failed at something….even if it’s failing at being humble enough to admit it!

So here are 11 projects from the past five years that I tried to launch, either on my own or with colleagues, that failed for whatever reason.  I’ve also included the business lessons I learned from each project.

==

Afridex.net

Afridex (2008 to 2010)

The Idea: Back in 2008, there was little information about the various companies across the pan-African business sector. It also featured micro-format compatible ‘cards’ that businesses could place on their website. Definitely not one that had APIs or fancy design. So I set out to create one by modeling it after Tech Crunch’s CrunchBase. (Photo Above)

Why it failed: There was no clear business model (that I’d identified at the time) and I never came up with a strong enough data acquisition strategy – just because you say you’re going to crowdsource data doesn’t mean the crowd is going to volunteer to source the data for you!

Lesson: ‘Buzzwords’ like crowd-sourcing are usually based on a lot of hard work that is easy to overlook.

A.fricame.me (2010 to 2012)

The Idea: To create Techmeme-like destination site for information on all things tech, business, and policy related in Africa.

Why it failed: To make it sustainable, this type of project requires a lot of time on behalf of the founder. That said, I never cared about making this project profitable but I underestimated how much of my own time it would take to keep it functioning an relevant.

Lesson: Don’t take on side-projects without fully investigating how much time they will take away from your priamry proejcts.

Infostate of Africa 2009

Appfrica 1 (2008 to 2010)

The Idea: Appfrica began as a blog and long-form investigative research site all about what was going in Africa.  The goal was to be something akin to GigaOm Pro for the African audience with high-quality blog posts, market reports, infographics and the like.

Why it failed: This eventually worked in the form of other projects (Appfrica still does market research) but it takes a degree of critical mass in demand before pursuing a business model like this.  Doing it for no money was too time-consuming and draining to be sustainable. At one point I even hired a few writers, but because there was no revenue, that didn’t last long.

Lesson: Know your customer before you launch a product. And if possible, make every attempt to reach out to them to make sales as soon as (or even before) you start. This is now known as the ‘lean startup’ model, but I assure you that philosophy is as old as commerce itself.

Command Line

Appfrica 2 (2009 to 2011)

The Idea: In parallel to trying to make Appfrica a successful blog, I was also running a small developer shop in Kampala.  The idea was to follow the example of companies that earned their business from corporations in North America and Europe who wanted out-source to Asia.  Why not out-source to Africa?

Why it failed: While Appfrica had very high visibility, press, and market awareness at the time, scaling a consultancy is hard.

Lesson: Hire too many people too fast and client work may not come in fast enough to sustain your staff, resulting in your going bankrupt or having to lay off people.  If you fail to hire enough people quick enough, you’re stuck with an avalanche of projects, and no one to work on them.

Appfrica 3 (2009 to 2010)

The Idea: In ’09-’10 I wanted to find ways of offering capital to early stage African entrepreneurs. By leveraging profits from our consulting business, and partnering with experienced VCs, we could make investments, or at the very least introduce entrepreneurs to the investors.

Why it failed: Ultimately it came down to my lack of experience in the investment sector.

Lesson: Experience matters. I got better at it pretty quickly. Now Appfrica has found several ways of solving the problem of lack of access to early-stage financing.  One is through our competitive funding program Apps4Africa, the other is through our SeedCapitalAfrica fund.

images

FricaFact (2009)

The Idea: A Twitter account that tweeted one fact about Africa each day an and accompanying podcast that shared one interesting fact about Africa each episode.

Why it failed: It was actually quite popular, but my own attention for researching and producing the show is what waned.

Lesson: If you want it to last work with others.

LocaleMotive (2010 – 2011)

The Idea: An ambitious location-based edu-tech startup that aimed to use gamification and parent/peer interaction to improve the way study groups work in the U.S.

Why it failed: While this is still something that I’d like to see done, it was a capital intensive project to startup.  I would have needed an angel investor almost right out the gate.

Lesson: Seeking investment isn’t bad, but if even starting your idea depends upon the benevolence of an investor, you may never get the opportunity to do anything.
Status.ug Green

Status.ug (2009 to 2010)

The Idea: A feature-phone accessible mobile-social network that leveraged mobile money for social m-commerce in Uganda.

Why it failed: Actually, this was a by-product of the ‘Appfrica 3′ experiment in angel investing. Also, I think I loved the concept more than the entrepreneur did.

Lesson: A founder needs to be a founder first.  An investor needs to be an investor first.  If those stars are misaligned, expect the worst.

Wheragi (2009 to 2010)

The Idea: Location based note-dropping and discovery. Essentially like Foursquare, but using short-codes and natural language so that it could work on feature phones. Also toyed with the idea of doing an Augmented Reality version for development aid workers using smart phones.

Why it failed: I made it too complicated to build by trying to do everything at once. Also, such an ambitious project requires one to show that they can actually execute.

Lesson: No one can ever (convincingly) argue the viability of something that is already functioning and that already has traction.  This project had a lot of interest, but I should have started small and got the basics working before looking for funding in a major way.

WeworkforFree

WeWorkForFree.com (2006 to 2008)

The Idea: Create an online community of artists and graphic designers who sell or donate their art and services to help generate money for charity.

Why it failed: Where do I start? First, artists and designers are already an exploited bunch on the web.  Now someone was asking them to compete to give their stuff away for free?  Meanwhile our site was going to then auction work, not to make a profit but to donate to charities and do projects in developing countries.

Lesson: A business that means well is not necessarily a business. It needs to mean well, do good, and sustain itself. If you’ve read anything I’ve written after 2008 now you’ll understand partly why that message has become a personal mantra of mine.

10KSpace (2010)

The Idea: To create an African Incubation hub (like ccHub, I-Hub, or ActiveSpaces) for the 16 and under demographic.

Why it failed: Too dependent upon the parents ability to afford or appreciate aftercare education for their kids. In other words, the concept though interesting, did not consider the needs of the user (the students and their parents).

Lesson: Users first. Always.

==

The ultimate lesson in all of this is failure is only a permanent condition if you let it stop you, otherwise it’s a temporary ailment. Keep trying. The horizon only looks like like the edge of the earth, if you keep heading in that direction, I’m pretty sure you won’t fall off. ;-)

So when you email me or call me to ask about how projects MetaLayer, Appfrica, Apps4Africa and/or Abayima have all been so well received, please know that none of those would have been possible without the experience gained from failing so often and and not giving up.

Appfrica and the U.S. Department of State, with the support of the World Bank, would like to extend our congratulations to the 30 final innovations that have been selected from the Apps4Africa 2012 Competition!

Our expert judges are now voting on the innovations that should be invested in this year.  BIG thanks to The U.S. Department of State, The World Bank (Africa), Nic Haralambous, Liz Ngonzi, Loren Treisman, Makhtar Diop, and Wayne Sutton for your participation in the judging process!

The (30) Final Innovations are:
PENYA Financial (Zimbabwe)
TYAN – OpenApp (Zambia)
The Business Planner (Zimbabwe)
Ama Sampo (Zambia)
Ujamaa (Senegal)
Spell Africa (Nigeria)
1School/Oneskool (Nigeria)
AWPN (Nigeria)
Zambianized (Zambia)
Alsvas (Central African Republic)
Ffene (Uganda)
Prowork (Nigeria)
Esaja (Zimbabwe)
Yaalda (Cameroon)
Prep-hub (South Africa)
Youth Village (South Africa)
Intumwa (Rwanda)
Click Tradex (Ghana)
Exportunity (Benin)
SliceBiz (Ghana)
Learnitug (Uganda)
StudyMate (Zambia)
BrainShare (Uganda)
Yeboao/KKYB (Ghana)
MyCareer (Uganda)
Jobs-in-Nigeria (Nigeria)
Miguide (Ghana)
Opportunity Pour Tous (Cote d’Ivoire)
Bloorx/Searchlamp (Nigeria)
XCommodity (Tanzania)

What Happens Next?

Out of these finalists, 3 innovations will be selected and funded with $10,000USD each. Appfrica will continue to engage these innovators, providing mentorship, additional exposure and additional funding opportunities.

Look out for our (3) selections to be funded in the coming weeks!

Image

The Apps4Africa 2012 team: (L to R) Marieme Jamme, Thomas Genton, Barbara Birungi, Jon Gosier, Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson

By Mariéme Jamme, Apps4Africa Consultant

Each time I return from Africa, I have the feeling that progress is happening on the ground but something is missing. People are desperately and rightly demanding change.

Image 

During my visits to Kinshasa, Ghana and Senegal for the Apps4Africa 2012 Competition brainstorming sessions in particular, I witnessed from the innovators a real desire to innovate and have their voices heard. In Senegal, I met an African news team that produces AFRIQUEITNEWS, and Stephane Ndour, finalist of Startup Weekend, who created SAMAEVENT- the only online platform providing all the tools needed to register an event in Senegal. In Ghana, I met Allosyius Attah, founder of FARMERLINE and winner of Apps4Africa 2011, whose organisation provides a mobile and web-based system to furnish farmers and investors with relevant agro industry content to improve productivity and increase income. In Kinshasa, some upcoming, enthusiastic youth technologists showed me their new linux app, and discussed their desire to establish a tech hub where they can meet and innovate, something desperately needed in the DRC.

Therefore, I truly hope that the growing competitions and gatherings, such as Apps4Africa, Startup Weekend, Africa Gathering and BarCAMPS can give visibility and credibility to young African innovators and ultimately make them more profitable. Such brainstorming sessions and gatherings, where people meet to share ideas and learn, could form the missing link by helping to create a culture of entrepreneurship and trust, to challenge and empower the technology entrepreneurs to do more for Africa.

Reality Checks and Talks in Apps4Africa Brainstorming Sessions

However, I remain unsure about how the mosaic of demands and desires will be met without an urgent change of the mind-set of policy makers in Africa and the entrepreneurs themselves. Whilst an African Technology Revolution is taking place, many of the young innovators still face huge problems of understanding how to build sustainable businesses around their innovations. Most are following their dreams, inspired mostly by the stories of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, and succeeding without clear business plans or structured road maps when they started their businesses many years ago. The reality check has not yet taken place in the minds of African innovators and much time is being wasted on unrealistic ventures.

Apps4Africa is the only competition with an educational element to analyse local problems though hard-talk and debate. I found that the gap between creating ideas and creating a business around them is still massive. Hence this year’s Apps4Africa theme was very timely and relevant. 

We took the journey this year wishing to find the tech CEO who can not only innovate, transform, and solve local issues, but can also start a business around their innovation, ultimately creating jobs and reducing poverty in their communities.

“Our goal is to catalyze the growth of Africa’s early-stage startups to address the issue of youth unemployment across the continent. Africa needs to create at least 120 million jobs by 2012 to maintain its current trends of a growing middle class. Those jobs are not going to come from government mandates or multi-national corporations; they are going to come from successful startups and entrepreneurs. With Apps4Africa 2012, Appfrica and our partners at the State Department, Lions@frica, and the World Bank are demonstrating our commitment to addressing this problem now and in the future!” Jonathan Gosier

A moment of Reflection

The Apps4Africa brainstorming sessions are only possible with the amazing collaboration of innovators and business experts from the African Diaspora returning in Africa and few exceptional locals, for whose support and enthusiasm I am truly grateful.

At the end of my journey, I was convinced that Africans have many great ideas, and that supporting innovation helps entrepreneurs provide jobs for their communities.  They also have the ability to create many applications- we have scores of apps being developed across the continent currently. However, the great majority of entrepreneurs in Africa need more business mentoring and within their countries. There exists neither the ecosystem to address this nor a culture of entrepreneurship and risk taking required for success.

I believe that African policy makers need to invest seriously in creating more business schools and putting the right infrastructures into place to build the private sector industry of Africa.

I also believe that is an urgent need to equip young Africans with the right business innovation skills. Competitions such as Apps4Africa, where tangible results have been shown, need to happen more often to help more innovative business to be created. I believe that this will spread the culture of true entrepreneurship. Africans creating real meaningful Business in Africa is now a necessity.

 

 

A New Look and Feel

Jon Gosier —  October 11, 2012 — Leave a comment

The Appfrica blog has been more-or-less active since 2008, and it’s had many looks which we’ve recently updated. The new site is clean and minimal and makes for better reading of the longer content we’ve written over the years.

Appfrica Circa 2012

While we were at it, we also slightly modified our logo which hadn’t changed in quite a while either.

Appfrica Logo 2013

Just for the fun of it, here’s a look back at the past! First the website….

2008-2009

2009-2011

2011-2013

We’ve come a long way since then! Now a trip down memory lane with some of our old logos…

2008

appfrica old logo old logo
old appfrica logo

2009-2011

Appfrica Classic Logo

Appfrica Labs Old Logo

2012

Appfrica 3 Year

The past few years have been incredible for the team here at Appfrica. What started as an ambitious effort to invest in an incubate Africa’s rising talents in technology has become a quickly growing company that’s never been more vibrant! That said, we’re excited to announce the addition of Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson to our staff as Executive Director. In her role she’ll oversee our many programs and partnerships.

Former Director Jon Gosier, is now the Director of Advocacy and will work with assist Bahiyah in scaling Appfrica’s efforts to invest in, and nurture the African tech sector.

Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson became involved in social entrepreneurship at a young age, partnering with friend out of high school to run a fashion line that sourced and imported local fabrics from women’s cooperatives in Tanzania. That experience invigorated Bahiyah’s love for international, cross-cultural exchange and commerce. She went on to explore the world of media and entertainment in order to obtain a well rounded view of the media industry, eventually returning to her true passion: international affairs and social entrepreneurship.

To date, Bahiyah has established and ran non profit organizations and businesses with ties to Sub-Saharan Africa, the U.S. and Brazil. She has a degree in International Relations, and has worked with large NGOs, including the Council on Foreign Relations and Ashoka in both administrative and consulting roles. Her passion is international branding, marketing and organizational development, building public-private partnerships that add value to all parties, and aligning business practices with clear and well intentioned core values.

She can be reached at byr@appfrica.com or bahiyah@appfrica.org

In the American and European tech space there’s a growing problem. There’s so much funding available for early stage startups that everyone and their college dropout buddy is starting-up, leaving no one out there to hire.

It’s one of those first world problems: “We just raised 4 million dollars for our social network for redheads but we can’t find any developers…frowny face.”

If Silicon Valley is having trouble hiring top tech talent, then it means that there’s also a drought in the NGO space. Even the biggest non-profits are suffering from the same lack of technical resources.

If you’re an African developer, this is a huge opportunity. Focus on acquiring (or maturing) some of the following skills. Talent in these areas is elusive even in the U.S. and Europe, being good at them will make you far more employable (or fundable if you want to start a company), globally as well as locally:

For Technical People

  • Ruby on Rails A lot of web startups use RoR because it’s a great language and it also impresses investors. However, they quickly realize that it impresses because Rails developers regularly command high salaries due to such high demand.
  • Python and or Django The Jan Brady to Ruby’s Macia. Actually, Python is probably more in demand these days simply because more developers are competent in it. It’s also great for mobile app development which makes it useful for all those SMS apps local firms are dying to build.
  • iOS – the iPhone continues to dominate the smart phone arena. It’s less relevant if you’re targeting a local audience (there go with Android or stick with Java), but if you are building apps that you want to sell internationally then there’s no app store with a richer economy for developers than Apple’s.
  • Data visualization All that ‘open data’ out there is irrelevant. What’s relevant is data that can be used by anyone at any organization, with minimal fuss. Visualization makes it easy to relate complex datasets to those too busy (or too lazy) to analyze them. Data vis goes beyond any specific programing language, but it is a skill and it’s one that Africans can find a great deal of opportunity in.
  • Math/Statistics Before one can visualize anything they need the components to visualize. If you’ve got a strong grasp of statistics and analysis, distilling information so that it’s actionable for others (who usually don’t share this skill) is a highly lucrative path to pursue.
  • Semantic Analysis Despite what everyone thought, the semantic web is here to stay. It hasn’t become a ‘new web’ like some once thought it might, but semantic technologies (sentiment analysis, natural language processing, text parsing) have become the methods that are routinely used to power some of the web’s most popular applications. These skills are incredibly lucrative. The growth of the ‘Big Data’ industry is fueled by them.
  • NoSQL & NewSQL Modern web apps require a great deal of backend engineering to deal with and keep track of all the byproducts of social, sharing, and content creation. There’s two schools of thoughts on this: one is that by doing more of the work on the application side (on request), applications can scale faster while handling more operations from more users. That’s the non-relational approach. The other school of thought is that there was nothing wrong with the old way of doing things, which stores data with the values the application uses for retrieving them later. The challenge was that this created a bottleneck at the database level which often lead to slow or stagnant apps. The new thinking around NewSQL is to keep the relational model and simply build better database software that allows for more throughput. Entire companies are being built of each type of database (see: Cloudera, Vertica, 10Gen), pick the one that makes sense for you. Also, this is the fuel for the Big Data/Open Data rocket ship.
  • jQuery/Javascript/Ajax Modern web apps do most of their processing on the front-end. As I mention above, this often means the application side is where most of the logic for the web app lives, while the database becomes a place to store and retrieve. For these types of web apps, front end logic is critical. Given the rise of the Jquery framework this is probably obvious, yet solid front-end developers are few and far between.
  • Hardware Engineering The ‘maker’ movement amplified by Afrigadget and Maker Faire Africa highlights another opportunity on the continent, the localization of manufacturing. Whether it’s bicycles or mobile devices, companies local to the continent that design and build things are scarce.

For Less Technical People

  • Design Look at the majority of African websites. Most websites made by African developers still look like they were made in 1999 using the GeoCities default templates (translation: Fugly). Blegh. There is a bounty out for good African designers. The mistake a lot of programmers make is they assume design is about technical know-how. It’s not – it’s about a sense of aesthetic and attention to detail. If you are a lazy designer, you’re not a designer. If you are a programmer who thinks design is superfluous to your application, then you’re doing it wrong. There’s also a dearth of design talent in the U.S. and Europe and a good designer can command the salary of a top programmer. Where are the African designers?
  • Writing You would be surprised at the number of people who can’t string together a well-written, cohesive, consistant thought in written form. Coupled with the rapid proliferation of social media (which, by the way, consists of mostly written messaging) the ability to write and write well has become incredibly important. I say this because you are not at a disadvantage if you are a non-native speaker. Example: Ariana Huffington is a non-native english speaker and she built a highly influential and powerful new media outlet that rivals old-school powerhouses like CNN and FOX on the web. It’s about being able to convey your thoughts cohesively and convincingly. It takes practice, so keep blogging!
  • Project Management Being the person who can cultivate the best traits from your team of peers is a huge asset that has always been rare. Many people manage, few excel at it.
  • Videography – We’ve all heard that there isn’t enough local content being produced for African audiences. One of the reasons is the lack of local producers. However, this is changing. More countries are becoming home to an African creative class who are producing film, television, and web shows locally. Can this be lucrative? I think so. As bandwidth falls in cost, eventually the demand for local content may not come from international viewers but the pan-African audience.
  • Critical Thinking/Problem Solving Deductive reasoning. The ability to deduce conclusions and the reasons why they have occurred. To do this, you have to be able to consider all sides and all aspects of a problem…even the ones that you don’t like. You have to be able to challenge assumptions, this includes your own. It is a skill to be able to analyze the intricacies of why things happen or if someone’s argument isn’t grounded in reality, and to be able to explain your conclusions to others. This will make you a better anything.

There are companies all over the world looking to hire people with aptitude in these areas, but being in Africa puts you in a position of power because there will be as great a demand for you at home as there is abroad. Does this mean you’d have to relocate to another country? Not necessarily, many of these skills can be outsourced to you or your company.

In 2012 learn the things that are in demand so you can build firms (or offer services) that capitalize on these global trends.

Photo Credit: Ahmed Maawy & Apps4Africa.org

Apps4Africa Reboot!

Jon Gosier —  September 16, 2011 — 2 Comments

Well, it wasn’t a graceful relaunch. Our site went down, a web app we use called JotNote suffered at DDOS attack, and there were other complications, but after 24 hours of debugging and troubleshooting Apps4Africa 2011 is almost underway! Beginning October 1, 2011 the contest will kick off in 5 countries in West Africa, before moving to East Africa (October 20, 2011), ultimately ending with the Southern Africa competition early next year.

apps4africa 2011

The press release from this morning:

As part of our engagement with emerging African partners in addressing the challenge of climate change, the U.S. Department of State will sponsor Apps4Africa: Climate Challenge, a public diplomacy program comprised of three African regional competitions to address local climate change challenges through the use of mobile technology.

In coordination with software developer Appfrica International, the U.S. Department of State will bring civil society, academia and private sector organizations together with African technology innovators to develop applications that address local climate change adaptation challenges. In doing so, we seek to raise African public awareness of climate change adaptation and U.S. involvement in Africa on these issues; support the development of civil society and private-sector networks; and highlight African solutions to local climate change adaptation challenges.

The 2011 competitions are linked to three African regional climate change workshops organized by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State. The workshops are part of the broader Adaptation Partnership, which brings together practitioners and policy-makers to address key adaptation challenges in their region. Climate change issues identified at these workshops will be used to inspire ideas for mobile applications for the competitions.

The Apps4Africa: Climate Challenge builds on the success of the 2010 Apps4Africa: Civic Challenge in which civil society challenged program developers to find innovative technological solutions to everyday problems on issues ranging from transparency and governance to health and education. The 2011 competition begins in Western and Central Africa in September, with Eastern and Southern Africa to follow. Winners will receive prizes, including cash awards. Private partners, including TED and Indigo Trust, are contributing technical assistance, prizes, and follow-on support for the new partnerships created by this platform.

For more information please visit http://apps4africa.org or contact Marissa Rollens, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of African Affairs, at 202-663-0531 or RollensMK@state.gov.

This is really exciting for us, as with this contest, Appfrica and HiveColab members will visit a huge portion of the content, to answer your questions and help facilitate local events. Plus we’ll get to meet many of the great minds out there doing great work! Regional outreach events will be held in the following countries.

In West Africa/Central the outreach area will include: Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, DRC and Ghana. In East Africa the outreach area will include: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. In Southern Africa, the outreach area will include South Africa, Botswana, Madagascar and Angola.

Got feedback for us? Share it in our Google Group.