July 6 - Twenty-two-year-old Ugandan IT student Abdu Sekalala has made a fortune from mobile apps, benefiting from Africa's fast-growing telecoms market. Hayley Platt reports.
He's only 22 and already a billionaire - at least in Uganda where he lives. IT student Abdu Sekalala has made a fortune designing mobile phone Apps. His applications have rivalled some of the world's most popular platforms in downloads. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ABDU SEKALALA, DEVELOPER SAYING: "We have word book which is a dictionary and the Tutu translate which is basically a translator and then there is world sports which is a sports application for soccer fans." He's developed nine internationally recognised Apps. Wordbook is among the most successful. It earns him 1.25 dollars everytime it's downloaded. So far that's over 300,000 times - making him some 375,000 U.S. dollars. Africa is the world's fastest growing telecoms market and Abdu got his big break last year after taking a Nokia training course. The mobile phone giant now sells Abdu's Apps in its specialist Ovi store. Agatha Gikunda is Nokia's Head of Apps in East Africa. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AGATHA GIKUNDA, NOKIA HEAD OF ECOSYSTEM SERVICES AND APPLICATIONS, EAST AFRICA SAYING: "Africa is definitely the next frontier. Developers here have a huge opportunity that they have never ever had before to create businesses that require very little start up capital. They are already trained in development so we then take them to the next step to train them in the development for a mobile phone and all you need is your computer and your idea, you publish your application for free, you select which countries around the world and that is it." Abdu is now mentoring others and says his greatest achievement is a free App called 'Uganda Theme'. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ABDU SEKALALA, DEVELOPER SAYING: "In the first week of its launch it became number three in the the most downloaded things in the world, that is when I felt like this is my number one of everything that I developed, this is it, this is what is going to make my mark." Abdu is still studying IT at college. But with a steady income he doesn't have to worry about finding a proper job when he leaves. Hayley Platt, Reuters.