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Kenyans Emerge Top at Global Development Challenge

Two Kenyans have scooped top honours in the recently concluded Appstar Challenge held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Gerald Kibugi who presented a game "Tough Jungle", took the first position in the Appstar Challenge sponsored by global telecommunications giant, Vodafone, while Gilbert Rono took the second slot with an educational application dubbed "Eureka".

Kibugi and Rono, won USD 25,000 and USD 15,000 respectively, following a thorough assessment by a global panel of top judges for the challenge which is aimed at spurring growth in the development of local apps in Africa and Asia.

Kibugi and Rono's apps beat a field of 284 entrants to win Kshs. 1 million and Kshs. 0.5 million respectively in the Kenyan finals organized by leading integrated communications provider, Safaricom Limited last in November.

Accepting their awards, Kibugi and Rono said their respective wins demonstrate that Kenya has indeed come of age in Apps development by showcasing the country's potential in a field that featured participants South Africa, Egypt, Qatar, Lesotho and Tanzania.

"There are many young Kenyans like us who have devoted their time and other resources to try and address local problems using local solutions that ride on the robust mobile ICT network. This win illustrates that their work is not in vain", said an ecstatic Kibugi.

Rono added, "We are now confident that we will now move on the next level in this journey, which is to create a vibrant local apps economy in Kenya, by availing these Apps on a platform where it can be acquired in a cost-effective way".

Congratulating the winners, Safaricom's Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore promised to continue working with independent Apps developers, established software labs like the iHub and Universities, with a view to helping position Kenya as the Silicon Savannah.

"With the increased growth in mobile use, innovative mobile apps are becoming an important part of our day to day life. We recognize that huge app development talent exists in the emerging markets and in fact, only such developers can provide applications suitable for the local markets. This competition is an effort to bring out the developers in emerging markets to the limelight," he said.
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