Charles Okwemba @charlito56
United States International University- Africa, in collaboration with Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative, has launched Kenya’s first AppFactory at the Incubation and Innovation Centre in Nairobi.
The I2C AppFactory is meant to address the competency gap between the ICT graduates and employment by equipping the students with high level skills in developing, implementing and managing modern software solutions.
“Graduates from the AppFactory are highly sought after. Virtually all of them find work often before they even graduate,” said Lutz Ziob, Dean of the Microsoft 4Afrika Academy. The project will provide an experiential way of learning, encouraging students to develop new skills, attitudes and ways of thinking.
In addition, it will provide access to the first grade jobs through the Microsoft Partner network, increasing the employability of USIU-Africa students and unemployed graduates from other universities who participate in the programme.
AppFactory is the 14th to be launched in partnership with Microsoft on the continent, with others in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Egypt, Uganda, Rwanda, Mauritius, Malawi and Ethiopia.
“Despite hundreds of students graduating in ICT, IT companies are still finding it difficult to recruit staff ready to contribute as software developers, without first taking them through extensive on the job training”, said Prof Paul Zeleza, Vice Chancellor, USIU-Africa.
In 2017, 500 students graduated from Africa AppFactories with 85 per cent securing full time jobs within three months of graduation. Others have started their own businesses. Prof Zeleza said according to a 2016 report by Zalego, 72 per cent of local ICT firms have had most of their software solutions developed by foreigners and not Kenyans.
“Only 26 per cent have had their software products developed locally by Kenyan-based software developed companies. By enhancing local employability and entrepreneurship, the AppFactory aims to change that,” Prof Zeleza.
USIU-Africa will host the AppFactory while Microsoft will provide assistance and access to various platforms, tools and networks to successfully operate the programme.
This programme 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.