The World Bank in partnership with Nokia is set to create a mobile application laboratory in Afria in an effort to push innovation in the field, while providing special support to innovative solutions that address the diverse challenges facing Africa. According to Tim Kelly, the lead IT specialist at the World Bank's InfoDev global grant, the world bank hopes to "to increase the competitiveness of innovative enterprises in the mobile content and applications area, and to ensure that locally relevant applications are created to meet growing developing country user demands."
Through the laboratories that will be set up in various host countries, the program will assist local mobile applications entrepreneurs, helping them to start and scale their own business. In particular, the program will feature training and testing laboratories, identification and piloting of potential applications, incubation for startups and potential linkages with operators.
For the time being the laboratories will be situated in select African countries, however, the long term aim of the program is to cover all of sub-saharan africa. We'll update with more about this exciting program in the coming weeks.