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Africa: building applications for mobile phones in Africa

Categories: Sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Development, Science, Technology

Building mobile phone applications in Africa [1], from Ethan Zuckerman's “Geek tracking, African hacking”:
Eagle’s new project – EPROM (entrepreneurial programming and research on mobles) – is trying to encourage people in developing nations to learn how to build applications for mobile phones. This involves building a community of mobile developers and providing curiculum for students to learn how to build applications in this space. EPROM is running an “SMS bootcamp”, encouraging developers to build tools around SMS. There’s a real challenge in teaching this course in Ethiopia, where the local telephone company ETC is blocking most SMS traffic. Teaching in Addis Ababa, he managed to convince ETC to provide a small supply of unlocked SIM cards, which has let students try applications like movie listings, weather information, craig’s list-type applications, and “crush lists” for automated online flirting.