Be the next big thing in Africa


Posted by: Dele Akinsade, Developer Platforms Evangelism Lead, sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean Islands

I must have the best job at Microsoft. I get to experience the passion of young people using technology every day, and how a little imagination can solve seemingly impossible problems. Like this year’s Imagine Cup winners of the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Award, Team Code 8 of Uganda, who developed a Windows app called Matibabu that diagnoses malaria without pricking a body part! By attaching a Kinect sensor to your finger, your malaria status is fed into your smartphone within seconds, and for free! From the heart of Africa, here is an innovation that has the potential to save lives all over the world.

Team Code 8 truly deserves their success, and their hard work and dedication is inspiring. I caught up with them after the Imagine Cup World Finals in St. Petersburg and we talked about some of their competition highlights. "Getting to present our project to Matt Smith, who is the famous doctor from BBC’s Doctor Who, is a definite highlight,” says Josiah Kavuma, the team’s mentor.

When asked how it felt to win, Josiah beams at the memory. “It was awesome, we could not stop smiling. It’s one of the best moments we shared as a team.” 

We also chatted about the apps presented at the competition that inspired us most. Team Code 8’s favourite was SoundSYNK, developed by the UK’s Team Colinked, which is an app that enables the synchronisation of music playback between multiple Windows devices in perfect harmony, essentially creating a stereo sound system. “The effect is mindblowing,” says Josiah.

 My personal favourite was the Portuguese team’s For a Better World app, which uses a portable device to determine a person’s blood type in about five minutes - no surprise that it won the World Citizenship Award.

 In addition to the USD 12 000 prize, Team Code 8 will take away lifelong memories from participating in the competition - networking with peers, experiencing a world-class city, and being exposed to the best technology ideas in the world. The team’s success will no doubt impact aspiring developers in Uganda and other African countries, and to all the local students out there, I say don’t let your circumstances define you. Be inspired by what you see around you. Be the new Africa!

I look forward to seeing more local students coming up with inventions that will positively impact millions of people on the continent, and the world. Next year, I believe e-commerce will be the next big thing in app development, for it has the potential to solve the financial inclusion problem in many parts of Africa - just look at the success of Mpesa.

 But for now, keep your eye on the Windows store for new, life-changing apps every day. And in a few weeks, Matibabu will be available for download! 

 

Comments (11)

  1. Matibabu will be available for download! says:

    Matibabu will be available for download!

  2. Brian Jjuuko says:

    I send my hearty cheers & Congrats to a team from my very own motherland. I work with a Microsoft Partner Firm in Uganda. I envision key success and more innovation from Uganda, a land of gifted humans. I have met several people around the world: they all seem to experience the beaming nature of Ugandans. The aptitude and smartness of Ugandans is so apparent: it takes seconds to realise! No-wonder therefore that one of the very first Whites to visit Uganda saw one fitting phrase: 'The Pearl of Africa'. I just wish that one day; all this potential is exploited. In the various fields of life; you will see Ugandans prospering, all they need is an opportunity, and a little encouragement to pursue on…and thats it: Magic Happens!! For God & My Country.

  3. kizito bernard says:

    This is great inspiration for me congrats team uganda

  4. Sewatti Rogers says:

    Congrats Team Code 8… Your an inspiration now for many young developers in Uganda and Africa as a whole.

  5. james says:

    Hmmmmm "Womens Empowerment Award" but no women! Okay.

  6. BK Tando says:

    wow congradulations guess…my biggest question is how were u able to detect malaria from a person 's blood stream without pricking a finger?

  7. SmallG says:

    congs guys. making a difference in our lives while inspiring us. way to go!

  8. Bukenya Fred says:

    Congs to you all, Kavuma Josiah always a tough man, I just remember him during our regime 2008 on prefectarial body of St. Kalemba. Senior secondary school-Uganda. We were great. Keep the fire blazing comrade as we go international. Thanks

  9. Anonymous says:

    Posted by: Djam Bakhshandegi, Citizenship Lead, Microsoft West, East, Central Africa and Indian Ocean

  10. Anonymous says:

    Publié par: Djam Bakhshandegi, Responsable de la division Citizenship and Partners in Learning

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