Apps for Africa: Mobile Cloud Computing to Accelerate Innovation

Part 2: Apps for Africa: Mobile Cloud Computing to Accelerate Innovation

Continued From Part 1

Every cloud has a silver lining, a lining that emits beams of hope onto the continent it traverses. Africa’s horizon has seen many clouds that have only passed on to deliver rains to the rest of the world.  However, one cloud spreads across the African continent, breathing a new hope of life on a part of the world that has always been referred to as a dark continent. That cloud is called the mobile cloud.

Mobile cloud computing is not a new trend in Africa, having first been introduced on the continent by the several mobile network operators. Services such as mobile banking and mobile money transfer have been around for over 3 years, operating on a private cloud computing framework that was tied to each network operator. These services have revolutionized mobile computing, delivering services that had long been a myth to many Africans. The advent of such services has had a far reaching reception pattern, creating trade links between the rural poor. In the biggest part of Africa, banking institutions are fragmented, without a reliable interconnected backbone that can facilitate trade and commercial transactions. And worse still, computer usage is very low in Africa, making it even harder to facilitate such transactions.

However, with the installation of the sea cable that had the first phase connecting the coastal countries to the global broadband infrastructure, fast internet cable is now being extended to the inland countries, providing a more reliable and faster internet link for both desktop and mobile internet users. The high penetration rate of cellular technologies will grow even faster with the adoption of fast internet on the continent. Mobile phones will therefore remain the preferred communication gadget in Africa.

The advent of fast internet will therefore leverage the existing services and provide a wider reaching cloud platform for building and deploying cloud-hosted applications. Even before the fast internet cable spreads to most of Africa, mobile application developers are already building solutions to take advantage of these new developments.

Microfinance Institutions to tap into the cloud:

RedCloud Technologies, the company behind the hugely successful M-PESA money transfer service in Kenya is already completing work on a project that will see micro-finance institutions connect to the M-PESA service, disbursing loans to their clients, improving cash flow management, helping the borrower repay the loan simply and cheaply without queuing in the bank using mobile money transfer, and getting the approved loan and money faster into the hands of the micro-entrepreneur. This project will provide support to customers with low-end phones using SMS technology, and high-end phones/ smart phones using a web-based application. The project will also provide support for loans officers that would like to use the web application option in areas with limited or no network coverage. The loans officer simply saves the loan application information and then posts it to a remote database when they move to places with network coverage.

Strategic partnerships between industry and academia:

Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile network operator and Strathmore University, a leading private university in Nairobi partnered this year to launch an initiative dubbed the “Safaricom Academy”. The initiative aims at developing young talent to create employment through the development of mobile applications that are relevant to the local Kenyan mobile user. The main goals of the Safaricom academy are:

  • Promote local innovation in developing relevant applications for the Kenyan market.
  • Create an enabling environment for the development of relevant mobile applications.
  • Attracting companies with applications to host them within the Safaricom portal.

This initiative will see more local content and mobile applications developed and hosted on cloud-based marketplaces.

Developer Bootcamps:

Many developer initiatives have sprung up in the past two years. In Kenya, iHub (Innovation Hub) seeks to link technologists, innovators and investors. In Uganda, the HiveColab is working with local developers to help them nurture their ideas through provision of workspace, hardware and developer tools. All these are initiatives that have also helped some small companies find seed funding from venture capitalists and big industry players such as Nokia. Virtual City, a Nairobi-based mobility solutions company, received a 1 million dollar award from Nokia after winning a global competition for building innovative mobile applications.

These initiatives are continuing to grow and spread across Africa, showing a positive market response to the adoption of relevant innovative mobile solutions on the continent.

In part 3, we shall focus on the future of the mobile cloud and what it holds for Africa in the next five years.

By Allan Atukunda

Allan is a software engineer with four years experience as a programmer and writer. He is also a mobile computing advocate in Africa with a vision to transform Africa through mobile communication technology. Allan believes that Africa can be used as a test bed for new and innovative mobile technology solutions, and encourages investors to take advantage of the fast growing mobile technology sector on the continent.

Allan Atukunda is a software engineer with four years experience as a programmer and writer. He is also a mobile computing advocate in Africa with a vision to transform Africa through mobile communication technology. Allan believes that Africa can be used as a test bed for new and innovative mobile technology solutions, and encourages investors to take advantage of the fast growing mobile technology sector on the continent.

You can subscribe to Allan’s blog to receive regular updates on the state of the African mobile technology sector here: http://www.mobilecodelabs.blogspot.com

CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in cloud connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as technology related infographics and comics.

Contact us for more information on how to get involved in our content related services and placement programs.

CONTRIBUTORS

Transparency in the Cloud and the Lack Thereof

Transparency in the Cloud and the Lack Thereof

Cloud Transparency The enterprise cloud is changing the way we do things from our day jobs, to social media, entertainment, and ...
Big Data and Autism

Can Big Data Help Us Create a Medical Test for Autism?

Big Data and Autism Many mysteries surround autism spectrum disorder. Arguably, one of the largest is how to authoritatively diagnose ...
Solving the Complexities of Multicloud Strategies

Solving the Complexities of Multicloud Strategies

Multicloud Strategies To avoid the dreaded cloud lock-in, many organizations are now managing multiple clouds to service their business needs ...
The Digital Upheaval Has Transformed Even Money, Creating Cryptocurrencies

The Digital Upheaval Has Transformed Even Money, Creating Cryptocurrencies

Why Has China Banned Them? Is This a Signal? All money is fiat currency. Its value depends upon your faith ...
AI – The Present in the Making

AI – The Present in the Making

I attended the Huawei European Innovation Day recently, and was enthralled by how the new technology is giving rise to industrial revolutions ...
Combining IoT Gizmo Kits With Your 3D Printer

Combining IoT Gizmo Kits With Your 3D Printer

IoT and 3D Printing The 3D printer in my cubicle keeps printing name tags without my name and only cube ...
Small Businesses CAN Compete Using The Cloud

Small Businesses CAN Compete Using The Cloud

Small Businesses Cloud In the past, small business owners had to either run applications or software that was downloaded physically ...
If Not Managed Correctly, The Cloud Can Cost An Organization

If Not Managed Correctly, The Cloud Can Cost An Organization

Cloud Application Management When organizations implement cloud applications, they do so as a means to be more efficient and in ...

NEWS

EU privacy regulators to discuss Uber hack next week

EU privacy regulators to discuss Uber hack next week

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union privacy regulators will discuss ride-hailing app Uber’s [UBER.UL] massive data breach cover-up next week and ...
HPE CEO Whitman's surprise exit stumps Wall Street

HPE CEO Whitman’s surprise exit stumps Wall Street

(Reuters) - Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (HPE.N) fell 6 percent on Wednesday after Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman’s ...
Cloud Security Alliance Issues New Code of Conduct for GDPR Compliance

Cloud Security Alliance Issues New Code of Conduct for GDPR Compliance

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Nov. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the world's leading organization dedicated to defining and raising awareness of best practices ...

SPONSORS

Scale your Windows Azure application

Help Your Business Improve Security By Choosing The Right Cloud Provider

Choosing The Right Cloud Provider Security issues have always been a key aspect of business planning; failure to properly protect ...
Viewing Digital Payments as a Boulevard of Commerce

Viewing Digital Payments as a Boulevard of Commerce

Digital Payments A boulevard is a wide street that runs in two directions and usually has a median in the ...
Ransomware's Great Lessons

Ransomware’s Great Lessons

Ransomware The vision is chilling. It's another busy day. An employee arrives and logs on to the network only to ...