By Paul Ndiho
Just as fortune hunters migrated to find gold in the old Wild West, today there’s a gold rush happening in Africa. Developers are scrambling to release more and more apps.
Mobile applications are beginning to Transform African communities economically, socially, and politically. Young African software developers are creating APPS to address their needs in many areas, including mobile banking, information gathering, farming, healthcare, and education.
In the East African nation of Uganda, LeBron Brian Ssekalegga, a recent graduate of Information Technology at the Makerere University in Kampala has developed an app dubbed “E-Chicken” that helps farmers.
“In case, they have problems with the birds they can use the app through searching for diseases, vaccinations, marketplaces. This app can simplify their life. They can use the app in one place. The app has everything in one place; you download it once you use it forever because you don’t require the internet to use it every time.”
As an experienced App Developer, LeBron Ssekalegga knew a good opportunity when he saw one and he’s part of the talented group of Ugandans trying to find homegrown solutions for problems Ugandan farmers are facing.
“When you open the app there is a menu where you can search for diseases, vaccinations, drug stores, marketplaces, simple tips, and growth plan.”
Ssekalegga has won several contests for developing cutting edge applications including the National Youth Talent Expo. He has also developed an app that makes all of the student’s class schedules available on handheld devices.
Donald Waruhanga a graduate of computer science at Makerere University. Like Brian, he has also won several awards. He has built from scratch mobile applications that focus on wellness.
“Most of the problems that are posed in our country are related to health, and they are paid little attention when compared with other fields. My app is called Momma baby because it deals with pregnant women at the stage where they are giving birth.”
According to World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 303 000 women will die from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. Donald says his apps are meant to change this narrative.
“I developed an app that can help the midwife just measure and input the information that they have measured. So when you record that data, it is supposed to be interpreted. After you record it, it gives you a computerized decision telling that a woman may need a C-section or that women can proceed with a normal birth. This can be done even in a remote village as long as the midwife has access to a smartphone or a tablet.”
Tech analysts say that these apps will have a significant impact on how we use smartphones in the future and that, young African app developers are innovating out of necessity.Critics say that most of these app developers are struggling to market their creations on a national level because the technology isn’t widespread enough yet. Only a few have cashed in on their apps. However, for LeBron Brian Ssekalegga and Donald are optimistic about the future and hope that one day they’ll cash in as well.