Kenyan student beats thousands in continental app challenge

Gilbert Rono, JKUAT student, receives $15,000 prize cash

A Kenyan student has emerged as one of the two Kenyan winners at the just concluded Vodafone Appstar inter-continental finals held in South Africa. The JKUAT student came second behind Gerald Kibugi who won the first prize for his Tough Jungle gaming app.

Gilbert Rono, a Maths and Computer Science first year student, beat over 3,000 contestants from Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Lesotho, Egypt and Qatar. Rono is now Sh1.27 million richer in addition to the Sh500,000 he won as the runners-up in the Kenyan edition.

Rono’s winning app, “Eureka”, is an educational app that solves calculus and algebra maths problems.

The win for the two Kenyans reaffirms the country’s potential and capacity to develop applications that can compete favorably at the global stage.

Kibugi’s ‘Tough Jungle’ sees the player represented as a Maasai warrior who faces challenges in the jungle. There are various levels through the game which are unlocked with the completion of each level.

Tough Jungle also won the Kenyan pre-qualifiers which came with a Sh1.1 million cash prize. The intercontinental win pushes Kibugi’s prize cash to a total of Sh3.2 million.

South African Rudolph Joubert won the third prize for designing an app that helps users to book movies and choose seats in a movie theatre.

“There are no losers here today. The developers who competed in the final round comprised of first and second prize winners from their respective countries. So they’ve all walked away with prizes; and even more importantly, all the apps will be launched in the App Stores and be made accessible to millions of customers from across the world,” says Prins Mhlanga, Vodacom’s Managing Executive of Digital Media stores across Africa, including Safaricom in Kenya and Vodacom in Tanzania.

The Vodafone Appstar challenge accepted submissions for Android, RIM (BlackBerry), Symbian and Java mobile ecosystems.

Related: JKUAT student wins at Safaricom Appstar challenge

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