Posted by Dele Akinsade

Developer Microsoft Developer Platforms Evangelism Lead, Sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean Islands

Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time.” – Bill Gates

I am thrilled by the African finalists of this year’s Imagine Cup competition. It’s no secret how innovative African youth are and this year’s winning projects are testament to this. Ten teams from across the continent will be jetting off to St. Petersburg, Russia in June, to compete in the global finals against 120 countries from around the world. In addition to participating in a life-changing event and a chance to win the USD $300, 000 pot prize, our African representatives will have a world stage on which to highlight the role the continent’s local developers play in addressing the most critical issues of the developing world.

You might have heard about our 4Afrika Initiative, which was launched in February this year, and is built on the belief that technology can accelerate growth for Africa, and Africa can also accelerate technology for the world.  It’s this idea that makes me so passionate about our local developers and so excited about Imagine Cup. The competition is just one of our many YouthSpark programmes designed to create opportunities for hundreds of millions of youth around the world.

So join me in applauding and supporting the African finalists for the Imagine Cup 2013 competition:

Nigeria

Team Life Saver from Obafemi Awolowo University and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology  have developed an application called CardioLife, which helps prevent heart attacks by monitoring heart readings on the fly via the Microsoft Windows Phone. It also provides a rehabilitation programme for stroke patients using the Kinect sensor.

Team Life Saver

Tunisia

Wise Team, with members from ENIT, INSAT, and Time Universities, will fly to the finals to present their app, Drive Alive, which reduces the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. By providing a travel schedule, it alerts the drivers to any rest areas along their route and is calculated according to recommended sleep patterns and maximum driving times.

 Wise Team

Uganda

The Ugandan winners, Team Code 8 from Makerere University, have developed a solution called Matibabu that diagnoses malaria without pricking any body parts! This cutting-edge technology uses a light sensor connected to a tablet that is passed over a finger to diagnose the disease.

 

 Team Code 8

Morocco

Team GreenMust’s winning application makes recycling fun in an effort to promote environmentally friendly habits. Users receive ‘green’ tips and win points and vouchers for checking in their recyclable wastes. It also provides a virtual market place for recyclers and collectors to meet individuals and corporations accumulating a large mass of recyclable wastes.

 

Team GreenMust

Kenya

Team PI CRAFT from Jomo Kenyatta University are the Kenyan finalists, with their project dubbed Protégé. The application allows people from around the world to search for children’s homes and rehabilitation centres, send donations, and even virtually adopt a child. All through their Windows smartphones!

 

Team PI Craft receiving their prize: A paid trip to compete in the global finals in St, Petersburg Russia

South Africa

Team SentiMeter from the University of Johannesburg in South Africa have made it through to the Imagine Cup finals yet again!  They have developed a big data social media analysis tool called SentiMeter, which competes with products like Brandseye, Radian 6 and BrandWatch.  SentiMeter has already had interest from companies wanting to buy it.

 

The Creators of SentiMeter

Egypt

Team Masked Ninjas from Cairo University’s Faculty of Engineering scooped top spot with their application called Videolater. It is designed to give users a more interactive experience of the news by automatically
searching for online video clips of the news item being read. According to the team, “People with smartphones want to touch and feel the news.”  

 

Participants in Egypt’s final

Botswana

Team Tandabala from the Botho College of Software Engineering have developed a pension payment system called Tandabala. The application enables old age pensioners, World War veterans, and the destitute to receive their social security payments from remote locations. This is a solution to a very important issue as many pensioners in deep rural areas can’t easily reach central payment stations such as post offices. There are already 30,000 registered pensioners who benefit from the application.

 

Team Tandabala

 Angola

Team UMA, comprising four students from the Angolan Methodist University (UMA) invented the Windows version of the popular game entitled “Don’t Fret” or “Não Te Irrites”.  Played between four competing players across devices, this exciting game can now be enjoyed between friends in different locations.

 

Team UMA

Ivory Coast

Team Kernel from the Ivory Coast won the West and Central Africa regional finals held in Dakar, Senegal. Their innovation, Neoformily, meaning never forget your family, helps patients with Alzheimer's and memory disorders recognise their loved ones through face and voice recognition.

Team Kernel

Each competing team deserves the highest recognition for the creativity and imagination applied to some of the world's biggest challenges. All of these solutions will have an impact on the future and inspire others.  Since
Imagine Cup was launched a decade ago, over 1.65 million students across the globe have participated and many of them have gone on to create thriving startups in their countries. So let’s get behind these teams and give them our
full support!

If you are a student with a great idea for an app, I encourage you to apply for next year’s competition. Also, don’t forget that Microsoft’s BizSpark programme, another YouthSpark initiative, is a great way to get the support you need to launch your startup business

So what are you waiting for? Dream it, build it, live it, and win it!