One of the reasons we’ve started htxt.africa is because, like the rest of the world, we’re absolutely convinced that something big and important is going on in the African tech industry that’s going to change the economic and social make-up of the continent forever. Arguably, its epicentre is in Kenya – TechCentral published a piece over the weekend warning that South Africa is losing its clout when it comes to continental tech thanks to the time and effort put in by the Kenyan government and places like iHub in raising that particular country’s profile.
There’s a stark warning from one of Kenya’s most prolific tech writers and entrepreneurs, Kennedy Kachwanya over at ICT Works though, in a piece adapted from his own blog. Kachwanya is comfortably moving into the role of Kenyan tech Cassandra, constantly warning his compatriots that getting caught up in the hype of all this new technology will divert their attention from creating good software, successful business and socially important innovation.
A taster from the post, titled ‘Why is the quality of Kenyan apps going down’ gives a taste of Kachwanya’s righteous anger on the subject.
Recently I attended Microsoft Imagine Cup competition and I left the place a disappointed observer.
The quality of the apps and ideas by most developers were pathetic to say the least. I am not sure whether that was an isolated case, but then considering the fact that the likes of IBM don’t trust the local talents to run their innovation and research centre in Nairobi, something is not right.
Equally strong is his warning that app developers are getting good at winning conferences and press coverage, but are failing to actually sell any apps. It’s a mistake to think of Kachwanya as a wild-eyed prophet preaching doom across the continent, though, no matter how much we may need one. For a start, he’s far more personable than that and secondly what he really wants is to make sure everyone is focussing on the right things for the right reasons.
Go read his stuff, he’s started posting more recently after a bit of a hiatus and is someone you should follow. Especially if you’re part of South Africa’s rapidly accelerating software scene.