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Local hubs boost Silicon Valley prospects

19 November 2013, 14:05

Nairobi - The country is poised to realize its dream to become a “Silicon Valley” of the African continent as major companies open such centres locally.

As several multinational firms establish hubs in different countries in Africa with a view to enable locals develop innovations that best suits their needs, IBM and Google are among companies that have either launched in Kenya or outlined such plans. IBM opened its hub recently while rival technology giant, Google intends to launch a hub in the country. The facility will train locals and equip them with skills that will enable them design the most appropriate hardware for the Windows 8 mobile phones.

In the light of such plans, ironically, former Google employee, Stefania Druga, has launched the Afrimakers initiative that seeks to empower makers in Africa to develop sustainable projects to solve local challenges.

The German-based HacKidemis founder said the project seeks to empower makers in Africa to develop sustainable projects to solve local challenges and create an exchange of best practices between locals.

The Afrimakers initiatives will initially kick-start maker workshops in Kenya and six other countries.

Druga has launched a crow funding campaign that targets to raise $50 000 that would be channeled at empowering Africa developers. Afrimakers would enable Africa’s developers to incorporate digital fabrication into solving local problems such as access to energy, clean water and information.

“The idea is to plant the seed of local change through social entrepreneurship, digital fabrication and regional collaboration,” read an extract from the Afrimakers’page.

Such investments coincide with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration pledging to make information and communications technology sector the cornerstone of Kenya’s development.

The hubs come as a major boost considering young developers and designers in the country lack financial empowerment- a factor that has halted progress in the sector.

Developers and designers in the country have previously been challenged to expand their scope from merely developing the hardware but also incorporate software development and thus enable Kenya to realize its
potential as the local Silicon Valley.

– CAJ News


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