The business opportunities in capacity building for APPS development in Africa


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Telecoms World Africa Conference, May 22, 2012, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa

The topic that I was given when my colleague was unable to make the conference was: "How to develop localised applications to target and profit from the African market." This seemed straight-forward until I started thinking about some of the concepts contained within that simple phrase. Firstly, assuming localised applications refer to applications targeted at local markets, it is important to realise that the current device landscape in this very large continent of Africa is quite heterogeneous. Secondly, most African countries have a scarcity of developers, more so of good developers. In a recent trip to Nigeria, for example, it was reveled that there are about 2000 independent developers in the country, compared to several hundred thousand in the USA. Many thousands are unemployed, and have very limited experience. Thirdly, while there are purely exploitative opportunities to develop apps and sell into the African market, such opportunities do not lead to the generation of local idea capital - the raw material of the knowledge economy. The real opportunity is therefore to use the growing potential of the software applications market place - both open source and (shudder shudder) proprietary - to create capacity-building initiatives, and by doing so to grow idea capital, and thence to grow the size and variety of the market. I use my 8 years experience in the African Virtual Open Initiatives and Resources capacity-building initiative to discuss how this could be achieved while still creating business opportunities and growing local economies.

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The business opportunities in capacity building for APPS development in Africa

  1. 1. How to develop localised applications to target and profit from the African market Dr Derek W. Keats Kenga Solutions    +27 82 787 0169
  2. 2. The business opportunities in capacity building How to develop localised applications to target and profit from the African market Dr Derek W. Keats Kenga Solutions    +27 82 787 0169
  3. 3. The African market !!!   
  4. 4. The African market !!!   
  5. 5. The African market !!! Our share of knowledge economy production Research published   
  6. 6. The African market !!!   
  7. 7. to target and Outcome profit from The make it here and sell it there  approach?  
  8. 8. The business opportunities in capacity building   
  9. 9. Idea capitality of ideas that are contained in an initiative, the relationships am tos intem.    
  10. 10. USA 2010 913 100 People who make a living as  software developers  
  11. 11. Nigeria 2012 913 100 2 000 300 000 People who make a living as software    developers
  12. 12.    
  13. 13. What mix is right? Doesnt matter USA SA Nigeria 100 Within local ecosystem Outside of local ecosystem 0   
  14. 14. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 2002 AVOIR University of the  Western Cape  
  15. 15. Human development“Capacity building” Creating opportunities for talented young software developers & implementers to excel Chisimba training at Uganda Martyrs University   
  16. 16. All about ...Creating opportunitiesthrough transnationalalliances within Africaand out    
  17. 17. All about ...Software & processinnovation capacity Reducing dependence on the awful sameness of prepared applications   
  18. 18. Megan Watson of the UWC team ran atraining workshop for new developers inGhana in August, 2006.   
  19. 19. Barriers toWhy FOSS? innovation Cost Successful innovation Permission Knowledge Starting point   
  20. 20.    
  21. 21.    
  22. 22.    
  23. 23. A framework for building software and skills Built on a stack of FOSS applications & libraries using a suite of FOSS development & collaboration tools An object-oriented, MVC framework for rapid development of distributed software    applications
  24. 24. The FOSS stack Cross platform jQue RESTful API ry Ajax Mashable XMPP Javascr ipt Mobile phone Apache2 Online package management Chisim Cloud-ready PHP ba MySQL PEA R CUR GNU/Linux L FFm peg   
  25. 25. Everything is a module Module Module Module View View View Controller Controller Controller Model Model Model View e.g. htmlelements modulecatalogue Controller modules sysconfig Helper security utilities lucene strings blocks API Object Engine Model   
  26. 26. Instances eLear ning CMS Blog OER News Portal system Mappi Social ng . . . etc   
  27. 27. Make a back end for mobile apps   
  28. 28.    
  29. 29. List posts 1600 1400 1200Number of posts 1000 800 600 400 200 0 Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul 2009 2010    
  30. 30.    
  31. 31.    
  32. 32.    
  33. 33.    
  34. 34. A network of networks e.g. InWent An alliance can be viewed as a e.g. FLOSS Include network of networks e.g. Vietnam Increasing the AVOIR e.g. Afghanistan networks in the eQuality alliance strengthens alliances the alliance ande.g. HP Chameleon the underlying networks e.g. Animal health Adding nodes to a network strengthens the e.g. VLIR network and the e.g. Philippines nodes   
  35. 35.    
  36. 36.    
  37. 37.    
  38. 38.    
  39. 39.    
  40. 40.    
  41. 41.    
  42. 42. Training in Chisimba development and implementationFET sector    
  43. 43. Chisimba FET project wins best Capactity Building award at the 2011 SAFIPA conference   
  44. 44. Business   
  45. 45. Partner institutions, organisations, projects Capacity building, academic projects Commercial activity, enterprise solutions   
  46. 46.    
  47. 47.    
  48. 48.    
  49. 49. LessonsCollaboration, networks and alliances are a way to build software engineering capacity that could be used to create an APP ecosystemCreating coordinated opportunities for students who have learned theory of software to achieve practical experience made them much more marketable Our biggest challenge is understanding and believing we can and should do it & then  building sustainable businesses  
  50. 50. Lessons AVOIR is non-structural – that was an important component of both its success and its winding down Despite numerous challenges, AVOIR has been going for 8 years, and has produced excellent software in Africa With industry interest and input (including funding) we could replicate it and include an app ecosystem   
  51. 51. The FUTURE   
  52. 52. My  DREAM  
  53. 53. Thank you Derek Keats, PhD +27 82 787 0169