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
Orange launches loyalty programme for virtual service retailers.Integrated telecommunications service provider Orange has launched a Loyalty Programme for its electronic top-up service retailers. Read More
Mobile roaming: 8% of global operator billed service revenues by 2018A new report from Juniper Research has valued operator revenues generated from mobile roaming at nearly $90 billion by 2018, compared to $57 billion this year. Read More
MTN Ghana warns against SMS fraudMTN Ghana says it remains committed to working in partnership with all stakeholders to eliminate the problem of promotional scams originating from foreign and local numbers. Read More
Samsung Unveils GALAXY S5, designed for what matters mostSamsung Electronics announced the fifth generation of the GALAXY S series, the Galaxy S5, designed for what matters most to consumers. Read More
TNM launches new airtime credit facilityTelekom Networks Malawi (TNM) will next month launch an airtime credit facility product called “TNM Pasavute”. Read More
MTN SA expands LTE footprint to PEMTN has reaffirmed its technology leadership by extending the Long Term Evolution (LTE) network to Port Elizabeth. Read More
MWC: Big Trust emerges as key issueAt Mobile World Congress, strategies for earning trust can be seen everywhere as the telecoms industry realises that to successfully monetize of subscribers’ big data they need to first earn far greater trust from them, says Ovum. Read More
Econet supports Tokwe-Mukosi flood aid driveEconet Wireless has joined the government, aid agencies and other concerned partners to send humanitarian aid to thousands of distressed people that have been affected by the flooding at Tokwe-Mukosi dam. Read More
Safaricom marathon 2014 registration openThe 15th Edition of the Safaricom marathon will take place this year on the 28th June 2014 at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Read More
Tigo pioneers mobile money transfer with currency conversionTigo has launched what it describes as a world first mobile money transfer service between Rwanda and Tanzania. Read More
FEATURED STORYMACRA demystifies spectrum management
Malawi's regulator explains the issues around spectrum allocation. Gregory Gondwe reports.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHYouthConnekt launches Mobile Apps for Human Development Challenge in Rwanda
Rwanda’s Ministry of Youth and ICT and the UNDP, in close collaboration with Motorola Solutions, will power a Mobile App Challenge that will be implemented by YouthConnekt.