US State Department Announces Apps4Africa Winners

The US State Department announced today the winners of the Apps4Africa 2012: Business Challenge. This Africa-wide competition to develop sustainable technology-based solutions to youth unemployment attracted nearly 300 applications from 27 countries.

“Africa needs to create at least 120 million jobs by 2012 to maintain it’s (sic) current trends of a growing middle class,” Appfrica International says on the Apps4Africa website. “Those jobs are not going to come from government mandates or multi-national corporations, they are going to come from successful startups and entrepreneurs.”

The winners of this year’s competition were:

“SliceBiz (from Ghana): a web and mobile investment platform that uses crowdsourcing to connect promising startups with young investors in Africa.

Prowork (from Nigeria): a web and mobile project management tool that enables businesses to create and assign tasks and track project status in real-time.

Ffene (from Uganda): a low-cost business management platform that helps small and medium-sized businesses simplify accounting, generate reports, and manage customer relations.”

“These young technology entrepreneurs—and the many others who competed this year—are the faces of a growing trend of innovative African start-up companies,” the US State Department said in a press release.

The winning teams were selected by an international panel of judges. This year’s Apps4Africa competition was sponsored by the US State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs and coordinated by Appfrica International. The competition was also sponsored by the Department’s Liberalizing Innovation Opportunity Nations (Lions@frica) partnership.

This is the third Apps4Africa event to have taken place. The first was Apps4Africa 2010: Civic Challenge, which was followed by Apps4Africa 2011: Climate Challenge. Both encouraged the development of mobile, web, and desktop applications to address local challenges in Africa.

The closing ceremonies will take place on March 6 in Kampala, Uganda. Winners will be offered money to help fund their initiatives.