Africa is shaping up to be one of the most attractive markets for mobile app development; this socioeconomic trend was clearly on display at the AppsAfrica.com Innovation Awards ceremony, which was held in Cape Town, South Africa on November 6. More than 300 apps were evaluated by a panel of judges selected by their experience and leadership in the tech sector. Only ten apps were honored with awards, and the developers have been formally invited to showcase their work at the Africa Technology Summit at Kigali, Rwanda in February.
Over the last three years, AppsAfrica has been honoring mobile software development across the Continent through mentorship, networking, and recognition. The goal of this organization is not only to celebrate innovation but also connect African developers with potential partners from around the world.
Presenting the Winners
The apps received awards based on their innovation within certain categories. One particular app that received considerable attention is Flare, developed in Kenya for the purpose of providing a cross-platform communications and coordination solution for emergency workers and first responders. Flutterwave, an app from Nigeria, was honored in the financial technology category; this app enables independent merchants to accept payments in a variety of formats and could emerge as a competitor to the M-Pesa system that originated in Kenya. Speaking of M-Pesa, a finalist app this year is called PesaChoice, and it provides a platform to make remittances to African nations.
In the best African app category, Boomplay—currently the top music app on the Continent—took home the award. A notable finalist in this category was JokkoText from Senegal, a music app with social media features that monetarily rewards fans when they share music produced by their favorite artists. What is interesting about this platform is that it takes advantage of the short message system (SMS) to ensure that users of feature phones can also participate.
Snapplify was named best app in the field of education, focussing on mobile publishing across various platforms. Other winners announced at the ceremony were: What3Words (Enterprise Solution Award and the Disruptive Innovation Award); Vodacom e-School (Social Impact Award); Mazady (mCommerce); Jumo (Changing Africa); and Bounce News (News and Entertainment).