JKUAT student wins at Safaricom Appstar challenge


Gilbert Rono, a first year Maths and and Computer Science student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), came in second at the just concluded Safaricom Appstar challenge.


Rono’s Math’s solving App dubbed “Eureka” lost narrowly to Gerald Kibugi’s gaming app “Tough Jungle”. The JKUAT student won Sh500,000 for the runners-up position and Sh100,000 for winning in the Education category. The overall winner won Sh1 million and will represent Kenya in the continental finals in South Africa.


“We really had a difficult time selecting the overall winner. Both apps are impressive,” said Dr. Joe Savilla, the chief judge in the competition that saw Kenya submit most apps in the pan-african and Middle-East competition.


The competition is part of the Vodafone Innovation Apps Challenge that includes apps from South Africa, Tanzania, Lesotho, Egypt and Qatar who collectively submitted 383 Apps.


“Kenya registered 895 submissions, out of which we got a total of 215 Apps that were submitted in the six categories of this App-Start challenge – the highest number entered in the challenge,” said Nicholas Mulila, Safaricom’s Executive Business Analyst.


Mulila added that Safaricom will soon start an incubation centre where young techpreneurs will be provided with the necessary environment to hone their skills and develop their ideas.


Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Communications and Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo said the Appstar Challenge has given more incentive to government plans to achieve the aspirations in Vision 2030.


“With 99% internet access rate through mobile devices there has been a marked growth in mobile application development in Kenya over the last few years. Usage patterns of the subscribers including access to Social media, communication and gaming have helped developers create solutions form opportunities within these fields.”




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