Nokia, WorldBank and Finland have come together to spur the innovation ecosystem in Africa

Supported by a program of the government of Finland and Nokia, infoDev is holding a focus group discussion that will bring together mobile applications developers, mobile operators and others for brainstorming on how best to create a lab. The discussion will be hosted by iHub, Nairobi’s latest innovation centre. It follows two lively and productive focus groups already held in Kampala, Uganda and Johannesburg, South Africa.The brainstorming session will be animated by Tim Kelly, Lead ICT Policy Specialist at infoDev, and King’ori Gitahi of Nokia Research Africa. There will also be inputs from iHub and the team behind the Nairobi chapter of Mobile Monday. The aim is to get inputs from participants on a series of questions, including:

·         Does Africa need a mobile applications laboratory?

·         What services should it provide?

·         Where should it be located?

·         What existing initiatives exist in this field?

·         Which applications are likely to prove successful in Africa?

·         With which partners should the lab work?

·         What would be the measure of success?

This is the third in a series of African focus group discussions. It comes toward the end of a consultative process to determine what shape a mobile applications lab might take, where it will be and what it will do. The mobile applications lab is a key part of the multi-year infoDev program supported by the government of Finland and Nokia, Creating Sustainable Businesses in the Knowledge Economy. The venue of the lab will be selected through a competitive bidding process to be launched for Africa in May, 2010.

Creating Sustainable Businesses in the Knowledge Economy is a €11.9 million program to encourage innovation and competitiveness among SMEs in the information and communication technologies and agribusiness. In the first phase of the mobile apps lab project, the partners will establish a regional mobile applications laboratory in Africa. It will encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in this emerging field. The services offered will include training and accreditation, certification, a competition for ideas, replication and scaling up of successful ideas, mentoring of developers and acting as a repository for knowledge of application case studies. The lab will be complemented by a program on mobile social networking, facilitated by Mobile Monday, to help identify promising new applications.

The focus group discussion will be held on Tuesday, 27 April 2010, 17.00-18.30, and hosted by iHub, 4th Floor, Bishop Magua Centre, Ngong Road, Nairobi (Opposite Uchumi Hyper).

An Africa based entrepreneur in the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled striving to build services that have real-world value for my beloved continent and beyond while having fun along the way.

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