Kenyan Techie Shines in Global Ericsson Awards

An app developed by a Kenyan techie has reached the finals of this year’s Ericsson Application Awards, scheduled to be held in Stockholm, Sweden later this month.

The elections utility app dubbed AfriVote developed by Nemwel Keoro beat hundreds of entries from around the world and now stands to bag Sh2.75 million (€25,000) in prize money if the solution clinches top position at the finals slated for May 22.

The Android app makes it easier for users to know and interact with political aspirants in their location, to learn more about the laws and topics surrounding the electoral processes and get the latest news.

Mr Keoro’s app in the student category is under the pseudonym TeamKenya; and is the sole African finalist in the competition.

“The teams have developed applications that will improve the quality of life on the continent and beyond. Africa is a mobile continent, and application development is one of the continent’s growing industries,” said Ericsson’s sub-Saharan Africa marketing and strategy head Shiletsi Makhofane.

The 2012 Ericsson Application Awards was won by a Kenyan team led by Steve Mutinda with their health app dubbed MedAfrica. It provides health-related information such as symptom checkers, a first-aid guide; doctor and hospital directories.

A user on AfriVote has to select his/her location then receives newsfeed and information related to the area’s aspirants, their manifestoes and provides links to candidates’ and parties’ social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, G+.

“The idea behind the application is to enable organisations that need to rally support be able to do just that using social media and SMS in the connected environment that cities are,” says Mr Keoro.

The techie says the app can be used by political parties, electoral bodies, civic society groups and aspirants to connect with the electorate.

The Ericsson Application Awards is an annual competition for application developers organised by Ericsson. To ensure that the winning applications can be used by as many people as possible, this competition is for Android applications.

The purpose of this year’s theme “Apps for City Life” is to promote innovations towards the networked society by connecting people, things and places to empower individuals and society.