British telecommunications giant Vodafone Group PLC has unveiled a technology competition that will award leading developers in Kenya.

The regional mobile application development challenge called Appstar, is an ongoing competition in Lesotho, South Africa, Tanzania, Egypt and Ghana which will see Vodafone issue a total of $20, 000 in prize money to winning applications.

Vodafone partnered with Kenyan subsidiary Safaricom, to run the country’s version of AppStar, offering a $12,000 reward to the top developer.

“We recognise that the next phase of real innovation in the mobility space will come from local app developers. We therefore see the Appstar challenge as the logical next step in deepening local talent giving them a chance to compete against the best in Africa but also reap from their innovation.” Safaricom’s Director of Corporate affairs Nzioka Waita, said.

Vodafone and Safaricom join other tech giants who have rolled out App competitions in east Africa, enabling young developers get access to markets. These include the Google Android App challenge, Huawei Android Applications Challenge (HAAC), Nokia Ignite Hackathon and Samsung Smart App Challenge challenge.

In Kenya, Safaricom will spend over 2 million shillings ($24,000) on this award scheme.

Developers have until November 21, 2012, to submit their applications.

Interested participants can enter six categories, namely: games or entertainment, health, education, agriculture, financial inclusion and productivity. The applications developed during the challenge must run on Android, BlackBerry, Symbian or Java operating systems.

Overall winners and runners up in each country will compete with finalists from the other six countries for the grand prize from Vodafone in Johannesburg in December.

To give developers exposure, all applications from the competition will be hosted on the Safaricom and Vodafone apps stores for use by customers.

The AppStar challenge seeks to give Africa’s developers an avenue to showcase their ideas and reach out to millions of customers across Africa.

“We recognise that huge app development talent exists in the emerging markets and in fact, only such developers can provide applications suitable for their respective markets. This competition is an effort to showcase the depth of that talent and give those developers a chance to benchmark themselves against regional peers,” said Karthik Srinivasan Deputy General Manager- Applications Store and Developer Program within the Vodafone Group.

To apply go here.


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