MEST, AMA & AFD launch the Accra Trotro Apps Challenge

MEST, Wednesday May 25th 2016

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) in partnership with Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) launch the Accra Trotro Apps Challenge

Mobility and Development

ACCRA, 26th May 2016: Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), in partnership with Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and MEST, is organizing the first ever Accra Trotro Apps Challenge on May 27-28 at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology in East Legon. This competition will bring together key players from the transport sector and the technology ecosystem to develop smartphone applications aimed at improving mobility in Accra. After 24 hours of brainstorming and coding, the jury will select the team with the most viable app as winners of the competition.

With a current population of about 4 million and more than a million people commuting daily to the city for various socio-economic activities, Accra is faced with a significant public transport and mobility challenge. In 2015, AMA – in partnership with AFD and Concordia University (Canada) – gathered data on over 300 active trotro routes and hundreds of stops. This data will be officially made public for the first time at the TroTro Apps Challenge!

“The focus of our transportation planning efforts as a local government administration is to continue to introduce the right policy environment here in Accra to improve both social and economic services.

The demand for social and economic services within the city is growing every day. The complexity of our urban systems today poses a formidable challenge for our comfort and efficiency in moving from one part of the City to the other. Fortunately for us, there is a good stock of technological tools available and applicable to these challenges which includes mobile apps. The AccraMobile project is an important effort to engender the interest of all stakeholders in order to collectively solve the urban mobility problems we encounter in our daily commute and travel” -- Dr. Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, Mayor of Accra.

Every trotro route registered with local authorities was surveyed by a team of data collectors using GPS-enabled smartphones. This data was then used to design the first map of Accra’s transport network – unveiled by the Honorable Vanderpuije in December 2015. This event is also meant to complement several infrastructure and transport projects currently being implemented in Accra.

According to Mrs. Amélie July, the Resident Manager of AFD, “in addition to financing new transport infrastructures and services – as we are doing on the Accra-Amasaman corridor for instance, we want to promote a more efficient use of the existing transport system. That is what the Accra Trotro Apps Challenge is about: developing smarter ways for people to navigate the city using trotros”.

During this 2-day event; 27-28 May 2016 at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology Campus in East Legon, technology innovators will compete to come up with exciting app ideas in the field of mobility based on the data of Accra’s over 300 active trotro routes.

The apps will be judged most heavily on the validity of the problem they are addressing and how innovative the solution they would apply is. They will also be looking at how richly the data is used in both these areas. Less weighted will be the viability of the solution, how well it will improve people's lives and how the app will monetize. The quality of the pitch, the actual code and the user's experience will be the final factors to be considered - Todd Holcombe, Senior Faculty at MEST.

What: The Accra Trotro Apps Challenge
Where: Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology Campus in East Legon (Behind the Lizzy Sports Complex).
When: 27 - 28 May
Time: 10:00am

About the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA)
Accra Metropolitan Assembly is the local government body at the heart of the Greater Accra. One of its various mandates is to regulate and plan trotro and taxi services in the metropolis through its Department of Transport.

About Agence Française de Développement - French Agency for Development (AFD)
AFD is the French Agency for Development and has been active in Ghana for thirty years as a development finance institution. Through grants, soft loans and guarantees, AFD supports economic development, poverty reduction and the protection of public goods. AFD is active in sectors as diverse as agriculture, energy, water & sanitation, and urban development. Its subsidiary, Proparco, is dedicated to private sector funding.

About the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MESTGhana)
Recognized as Fast Company's "Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Africa, MEST provides training, investment and incubation for aspiring African tech entrepreneurs. Established in Ghana in 2008, MEST offers aspiring African entrepreneurs a fully sponsored twelve month, intensive full-time program. Sourced from top graduates in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya & South Africa, these Entrepreneurs-In-Training (EITs) are selected each year and receive comprehensive training across the spectrum of skills required to build successful tech businesses.