M:Lab East Africa officially opened
MOBILEBy BiztechAfrica - June 16, 2011, 3:50 p.m.
The World Bank, together with Nokia, Kenya’ s iHub consortium and other stakeholders, have officially opened a mobile business incubation hub for East Africa.
The new facility, m-Lab East Africa, will serve as an incubation centre for new business in the mobile space. The facility is situated in Nairobi, Kenya, and will initially house seven start-ups.
The facility, based at Bishop Magua Building on Ngong Road, is hosted by the iHub Consortium that includes Nairobi’ s iHub, eMobilis, the World Wide Web Foundation, and the University of Nairobi School of Computing and Informatics.
The centre was officially opened this week, after the close of Pivot25, a conference staged for the mobile application sector in the city. This event, sponsored by Samsung and Nokia, among others, included the opportunity for 24 mobile application developers pitch their applications to an industry panel.
m-Lab will assist entrepreneurs with infrastructure, as well as technical and business training. It aims to foster innovation and the growth of Kenya’ s ICT sector as a whole.
Dr. Bitange Ndemo Permanent Secretary at Kenya’ s Ministry of ICT, told guests at the official opening: “ We must move to change from a minimalist approach as a government to something better. We are going to do whatever it takes. We must begin to invest in research. We must free up the government data. I have persuaded the Ministry of Planning and Ministry of Health and they have given us government data to open up to the public. We are currently putting it into a format so all can access it online.”
“A problem to overcome is that people don’ t collaborate enough. If we can begin to widen and collaborate through facilities like m:lab, the mobile applications emerging from the region will become more successful.”
“In Kenya, it’ s clear is a lot of potential in ICT,” World Bank country director, Johannes Zutt said. “ We are working with Kenya to promote areas where we think it will flourish – tourism and ICT.” He said that in Kenya, it is clear that ICT is one of the sectors where Kenya has been doing very well and thus there is a lot of potential for Kenya.
m-Lab East Africa is one of the labs World Bank is supporting globally through the infoDev programme, in partnership with Nokia and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
It has also selected hosts for m-Labs in South Africa, Armenia, Pakistan and Vietnam. Ken Oyolla, general manager for Nokia East and Southern Africa said the firm will support testing labs with equipment, training and events.
Finnish ambassador Heli Sirve, noted that Finland considers innovation and ICT as an important part of its development strategy. Private-public partnerships can be particularly important (like that of Nokia, Government of Finland and infoDev). Technological innovation can turn into economic growth in almost any sector. She said: “ I hope that m:lab will succeed in generating new mobile applications and improve people’ s lives in Kenya and East Africa. An old town in Finland, 25 years ago started a similar “ m:lab” and today, the people of the region have benefited greatly and are very successful.”
Paul Kukubo, CEO of Kenya’ s ICT Board, said at the opening: “When you talk about an ecosystem, you talk about the talent, the academic community, the researchers, the partners, and the developers. But you also have to talk about the leadership! We are very lucky to have Dr. Ndemo to set the tone of this sector in Kenya. We need to appreciate that this sector has gone through a very nice ride up to this point, thanks in large part to Dr. Ndemo. The enormous energy of the entrepreneurs in the past year is really encouraging and exciting.”
MORE MOBILE NEWS
Mobile device greenhouse gas emissions surgeSmartphone charging will consume almost 14,000 Gigawatt-hours of dirty energy by 2019, says a new report. Read More
Airtel DRC, UN team up to launch social programmesMobile operator Airtel DRC has teamed up with the United Nations Development Programme (PNUD) and a local bank, Rawbank, to launch a series of social programmes aiming at improving the lives of rural Congolese people. Read More
MTN Ghana supports Asafotufiami FestivalMTN has donated five thousand Ghana Cedis and assorted items to the Chief and people of Ada as part to its contribution to the Asafotufiami Festival. Read More
4G LTE: more than 1 in 5 active mobile connections by 2019A new report from Juniper Research forecasts a rapid uptake of 4G LTE mobile technology in the next five years, with active connections crossing the 1 billion mark in 2017 and reaching 1.8 billion by 2019. Read More
Mobile technologies catalysts for development in SenegalAlcatel Lucent is participating in a mobile-based anti-diabetes campaign in Senegal. Read More
Ghana resolves to improve QoSThe Government of Ghana has announced strict punitive measures to be taken against operators whose services fall below the expected quality of service levels. Read More
Vodafone Ghana appoints new Chief Marketing OfficerVodafone Ghana has appointed Agnes Emefa Essah as its new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Read More
MTN Ghana Foundation disburses $136 560 to build schoolMTN Ghana has delivered a state-of-the-art senior high school its Foundation built at the cost of GH¢437 000. Read More
Samsung launches Galaxy Note 3 Neo in KenyaSamsung Electronics’ latest premium devices: the Galaxy Note 3 Neo is now available in the Kenyan market. Read More
FEATURED STORYWidening ICT skills gap: Cause for concern
Nigeria's FDI gains could be eroded by the widening gap in indigenous skilled ICT manpower, writes Kokumo Goodie.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHKenya rolls out e-extension to improve agriculture
In a bid to curb the overwhelmed number of agricultural extension officers in Kenya, the ministry of agriculture is embracing technology with their introduction of E-Extension services, which are aimed at reaching out to over 7 million farmers annually.
COMPANY NEWSVMware reports second quarter 2014 results
VMware, the global leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure, today announced financial results for the second quarter of 2014.New Sage ERP X3 version puts business information at your fingertips
Sage ERP Africa has announced the availability of Sage ERP X3 version 7, the latest version of its global business management solution for midsized companies.How the cloud can power entrepreneurship and urbanisation in Africa
Cloud computing is not only fundamentally changing the way business operates, it is also driving a new wave of job creation opportunities, says SAP Africa.