Cow farming program wins Apps 4 Africa competition

Image caption,
The competition had entrants from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania

An application which tracks the fertility of cows has won the first ever Apps 4 Africa competition to find new talent as smartphones become increasingly popular in Africa.

Offering a prize fund of $5,000, the competition asked developers in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania to come up with a mobile application that is widely accessible, easy to use and simple.

The competition, funded by the United States government, hoped to unite the brightest African developers with people who could benefit most from innovate mobile technology.

Launched back in July in Nairobi, the competition attracted 20 entrants - each offering a unique approach to improving life in the region.

Moo-bile innovation

The winner, announced this week, was iCow - an application that helps cow farmers maximise breeding potential by tracking the fertility cycle of their animals.

"It's a voice-based application, meaning they don't have to have a special smart-phone," explained Charles Kithika, the app's creator.

"[They] just need an ordinary phone and then dial in a toll-free number."

Mr Kithika said the rise in popularity of mobile apps in Africa is partly down to M-PESA, software which facilitates the transfer of money.

Runner-up in the competition was Kleptocracy Fighters, an app which helps users combat instances of government corruption.

Features include the ability to upload audio, video and text to the web quickly - acting as evidence of bribery or other wrong-doing.

All the competition entrants were praised by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said that the apps "solved real problems".

"The ideas generated from this competition will help doctors monitor the growth and nutrition of young patients, will help expand trade by translating prices and quantities into local languages, will hold public officials accountable by reporting election violations and tracking public expenditures.

"I want to thank you for lending your innovative spirit and creativity to the enterprise of building a better future for your communities."

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