2010 a year of rapid growth for Nokia developers in Africa

Nokia has reported a sharp rise in downloads from Ovi Store across Africa thanks to the growing number of African developers creating apps, as well as the introduction of operator billing in several markets across the continent.

Data show an increase in Ovi Store usage by consumers and developers across Africa. Since July 1, key findings include: Ovi Store downloads by consumers in Africa have grown by 50%; Developer registrations with Forum Nokia are up more than 60%; Ovi Store active users have grown by more than 20%; In South Africa, purchases from Ovi Store have grown 438% since operator billing was rolled out in June; Mobile payment, instant messaging and health-related apps have been especially popular with people across Africa.

Purnima Kochikar, head of Nokia’s developer activities around the world, said: “There are more apps in the Ovi Store every day and more people downloading them. Simply put, that means more money for developers. And it is not just about the quantity of apps, but the quality we are seeing from African developers that is incredibly encouraging.”

This new data follows a strong showing by companies from Africa in Calling All Innovators, a global developer contest Nokia holds annually. AppCRAFT (South Africa), IRWAA and LLC (Egypt) climbed to the top spots in the life improvement category of this year’s contest. Also, Virtual City (Kenya) received $1 million in funding as the winner of the Growth Economy Venture Challenge. Virtual City’s mobile distributor solution, which supports small and micro enterprises in emerging markets, was chosen by a panel of judges as the app most likely to improve the lives of people in the developing world.

African developers are taking different approaches in showcasing their innovation. South African developers are bringing their apps to the market in multiple languages, while in Northern Africa developers are especially targeting Arabic-speaking markets worldwide. At the same time, East Africa is becoming a centre of entrepreneurial growth, with consumers pioneering the use of mobile payment systems like M-PESA, Zap, Yu-Cash powered by Obopay, MTN Money and Orange Money, which together have an estimated 12million subscribers.

To support the efforts of developers across Africa, Nokia plans to host boot camps covering Java, Web Runtime and Qt across the region. In addition, networking and training events will be held in several cities, including Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi.

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