The United States International University – Africa (USIU-Africa), in collaboration with Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative, has today launched Kenya’s first AppFactory at the Incubation and Innovation Center (I2C) in Nairobi.
The I2C AppFactory shall address the competency gap between ICT graduates and employment, by equipping students with high-level skills in designing, developing, implementing and managing modern software solutions.
“Despite hundreds of students graduating in ICT, IT companies are still finding it difficult to recruit graduates who are ready to contribute as software developers, without first taking them through extensive on-the-job training,” says Professor Paul T. Zeleza, Vice Chancellor of USIU-Africa.
The Vice Chancellor additionally commented that “According to a 2016 report by Zalego, 72% of local ICT firms have had most of their software solutions developed by foreigners and not Kenyans, while only 26% have had their software products developed locally by Kenyan-based software development companies. By enhancing local employability and entrepreneurship, the AppFactory aims to change that.”
The I2C AppFactory is the 14th AppFactory to be launched in partnership with Microsoft on the continent, with others in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Egypt, Uganda, Rwanda, Mauritius, Malawi and Ethiopia.
In 2017, 500 students graduated from the Africa AppFactories, with 85% securing full-time jobs within three months of graduation. Others have started their own businesses.
“Graduates from the AppFactory are highly sought-after. Virtually all of them find work – often before they even graduate,” says Lutz Ziob, Dean of the Microsoft 4Afrika Academy. “Across Africa, AppFactory students are learning how to build digital solutions in business, finance, healthcare, education, agriculture, tourism and transportation.”
USIU-Africa will host the AppFactory, while Microsoft will provide assistance and access to various platforms, tools and networks to successfully operate the programme. The I2C AppFactory will target final year ICT students at USIU-Africa and fresh graduates from other universities. Every six months, 30 students will become software apprentices and receive training and mentorship by senior software craftsmen.
Enrolment for the AppFactory currently on-going and students and recent graduates can register to enrol at www.usiu.ac.ke/i2c/appfactory.