PIVOT25 is East Africa’s first mobile developer challenge and conference. Happening on the 14 & 15th of June, 2011 the event enjoys the support of Nokia, the World Bank’s infoDev, Google, DEMO and Equity Bank among others. The winner of the challenge will get an opportunity to pitch at DEMO in September 2011. See the press release here.
100 entries were received for the challenge with 25 qualifying for the final event. The categories and finalists are listed on the PIVOT25 website. For western venture capitalists and multinationals looking to expand into the region, the types of apps and services are illuminating. This challenge was not about apps for poverty or problems consumers at the base of the pyramid face but an open challenge for developers to showcase their talent. The developers therefore used their own observations, experience and networks to determine what kind of apps they think users in East Africa want.
There was a high focus on pragmatic apps that help consumers get common tasks done. There are no games like those entered in the Coca Cola challenge. I didn’t see any app designed specifically for the iPhone. I didn’t see an app that requires a credit card to work.
Does this focus on pragmatism imply a parallel but different path for the development of the mobile application industry in Africa or does it make sense for the conditions on the continent?
Update: Semacraft’s own Niti Bhan will be speaking at the conference.Tweet