More than two years ago, Afriapps predicted Ghana's emergence as a major force in commercial app development. Looking back, there is no doubt we were on to something. Below we re-post the original article posted on 3rd June 2011. Were we right? Let us know your thoughts.
At Asilia, Lulu and I have made it a principle to religiously devote time to pursue internal and personal projects. So Lulu has her Afri-love (a personal project) and I started and manage Afriapps (a platform showcasing apps from and for Africa), under the Asilia umbrella.
Afriapps has been live since November last year and in that time we have profiled over 60 African applications. In the process, I've noticed a trend that has me really excited – the emergence of Ghana as a promising place to watch for creative and exciting app development.
Five reasons why Ghana has got me buzzing:
1.Built to be sold
Economic development in sub-Saharan Africa has often been about aid and grants and sadly, in app development in some parts, this is still the case. It is reflected in the type of apps developed, how they are marketed and how they are funded. Ghanian developers seem to be bucking the trend by producing a stream of apps that are not to be sustained by aid but by paying clients or paid downloads. Cool apps that we have profiled and that I've actually bought include:
- Basic Swahili - Learn Swahili on your iPhone or iPad
- iWarrior - Defend your village from wild animals
- My Twi Name - Find out your Twi name
- Nkyea Twi Phrasebook - Learn Twi on your iPhone or iPad
2. Quality finishing
Often on Afriapps we see apps based on very good ideas and built well but, let down by unrefined finishing and design. Like everywhere else in the world, Ghana has its fair share of these but, where Ghanian apps stand out is in the high number of apps with quality finishing and design. One of the things that makes African apps globally uncompetitive is design and finishing and many Ghanian apps seem to be getting these aspects right.
3. Diversity of ideas and talent
Tied in with the concept of building them to sell them is the development of a variety of types of apps. Games, business apps, learning apps, eCommerce apps, etc. This diversity would be hard to achieve if the industry was mainly dependent on aid as donors often have a narrow band of sectors they see as worth funding.
4. Building an eco-system
One area that really excites me about Ghana is the various genuine efforts to develop a sustainable tech eco-system. One such effort is that of The Meltwater Group, an established software company from the US. It has setup the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) through its Meltwater Foundation to offer training and mentoring to software entrepreneurs in Ghana. The program has led to the successful launch of a string of startups, each very promising. Some examples include:
- Retail Tower - helps independent online shops have their products listed on comparison engines
- Gripeline - Enables businesses to manage their customer support and feedback
- Tutamee - a place to ask and find out what or who is best
5. Not loud but should be proud
Frankly speaking, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria seem to get most of the press when it comes to African tech. However, amidst all the noise, Ghana is steadily laying solid foundations that will enable them to compete internationally. And from articles such as these, it is obvious others are starting to notice.
Undoubtedly there are other promising pockets in the region. However, from my Afriapps perspective, Ghana has definitely got me impressed and excited about what's happening there. If you are aware of other remarkable regions worth shouting about, we'd love to hear about them and see how they compare to what's happening in Ghana.
Illustrations by Lulu Kitololo
In the week since Black White Simple went live, 40 sites have been made. The Asilia team is so excited – we've decided we must have a proper celebration. And you're invited!
On the evening of Wednesday 25th September, 2013, join us at our London HQ to …
Get the story
From the horse's mouth, at Asilia's London HQ
By the various ways in which people have already been using Black White Simple
Set up your site, on the night
With the Asilia team on hand for assistance and expert opinions
Get your first month FREE
When you sign up for a paid plan at the event
Join the movement
And spend an evening with likeminded passionate people
When: Wednesday 25th September, 2013, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Where: Asilia's London HQ at Bathtub 2 Boardroom, 33a Wadeson Street, E2 9DR
Dress: Black, White, Simple
Tickets will be required so please reserve your place here.
We had some fun and made a Black White Simple site for the occasion. Check it out here.
One of Africa's leading video-on-demand platforms, Buni TV, recently launched their Android app on Samsung App Store. From the latest film festival darlings, to the coolest music videos and the funniest animations, the App makes it easy for viewers to discover some of the most surprising, thought-provoking and enjoyable video content that only insiders know about.
The app will be available for other Android users from January 2014. Read more about it here.
A lot of the time, carving your own chunk of space on the interwebs can be much much simpler than people would have you believe. In this post, Asilia shares a brand new solution to prove that.
Read more and find out how you can let your work speak for itself here.
Ever thought about getting online in some capacity but not sure where to start?
The folks at Asilia have developed a series of blog posts with useful tips for choosing the right type of website for you, and getting online.
Part I kicks off with some information about the various online platforms and some ideas that might help choose the right website to suit you and your users.
For the last year or so, I've (fyi I=Andrew) been working on a little web app using Ruby on Rails. Unfortunately, client and work commitments have meant I didn't have a lot of time to dedicate to it but luckily that changed in the last few months as Asilia has managed to hire 3 new developers to help with the techie load.
Chart&Paste enables you to create quick, simple charts that are sendable, shareable & embeddable. As well as being able to easily create charts, you can manage your charts including set them to private if you prefer.
Below are a couple of sample charts embedded from the platform.
Do you have what it takes to help refugee families separated for years find each other again? Do you have what it takes to modify a mobile platform so that it works in a poorly connected refugee camp? Do you want to win a trip to Kenya and test your prototype in a refugee camp? Sign up for this exclusive event in Nairobi on June 15 2013 – June 16 2013.
30 seats are reserved for the best and most inventive applications. We will ask you two qualifying questions when registering on Meetup.com.
THREE CITIES, THREE CHALLENGES
What happens when you ask the world’s most tech-savvy developers, programmers and designer from Silicon Valley, Nairobi, and Cairo to modify a mobile platform so that it works to collect information in the most remote areas of the world?
You get a Global Hack for Good aimed at reconnecting refugee families with their loved ones, often after many years of searching. Culminating on World Refugee Day on 20 June, 2013, this event –– the first of its kind –– rallies the global tech community around a common goal: creating technical solutions for the most disconnected families of the world. Join the #HackforGood!
BRING YOUR LAPTOP, ENTHUSIASM AND IDEAS
The number of forcibly displaced people around the world is measured now at 43 million, but it is growing due to humanitarian and environmental crises unfolding in numerous hotspots. That is why it is urgent to reconnect families who have been separated due to conflict, war, and disaster.
This event pushes the boundaries of technology, while improving the pioneering and innovative family-tracing platform www.refunite.org built by Ericsson and Refugees United.
HOW TO APPLY
Apply for the event in Nairobi via Meetup.com. We are looking for developers and user interface designers with an experience in open source technologies and programming languages like php and python. Experience in github is an advantage as well as a good understanding of RESTful APIs. You have a background in mobile, web or SMS. Experience in developing for emerging markets and/or low-end platforms would be great.
This Global Hack for Good will take place in Cairo, Silicon Valley, and Nairobi. At each event, dedicated developers will have a weekend to solve a technical challenge that will be judged by an expert jury including Ericsson and Refugees United representatives. The jury will select two finalists at each location. The three winners will be announced on World Refugee Day, 20 June 2013. The three winners will win a trip to Kenya, where the three winning prototypes will be put to the test in a refugee camp. This trip is planned to take place in October 2013 (date subject to change).
Click here to book your place.