Martin Ssekajja, the KCCA’s deputy director of ICT, today [28/01/2018] at Connect Kampala hackathon was quoted saying that “by 2022, we shall have resolved most of the transport issues.” In his speech, Martin also added that KCCA already has a “smart city strategy and we have implemented some components.”
A city of an estimated 1.5 Million residents and 4.2 million that enter it every day, it surely faces a lot of transport challenges. According to KCCA, the city was designed to cope with about 45,000 vehicles, yet those that enter the city daily are more than two million, including taxis and private vehicles.
Martin also added that there will be “10 Million people in the greater Kampala” by 2040. Currently, Kampala contributes over 60% of the country’s GDP. But, this New Vision article estimates that “traffic jam [in Uganda] eats up Shs. 2.8 trillion every year”. Which is roughly 10% of Uganda’s budget.
Traffic jam and other transport related problems like a universal address system are some of the issues the three-day hackathon at Outbox, which ran from January 26 – 28, 2018 sought to address.
The Connect Kampala Hackathon required the participating Software Developers to design solutions to improve the transport system in Kampala with WhereIsMyTransport Public Transport and Facebook Places APIs.
Several teams signed up for the hackathon, though only 10 made it to the finals. The team of three judges that decided the ultimate winner was led by Marsh Reddy, from WhereIsMyTransport.
Entabula Yo [meaning your movement], which worked on addressing the local address system as well as PakMe which designed a platform for allowing one to book a parking spot came in at number one and two respectively.
The first team walked away with $1000 USD, while second and third place won Facebook coupons to the value of an additional $500 each.
It should be noted that KCCA has invested heavily in the street address system, therefore working with Entambula Yo might be one of the ways to make it better. The same solution being presented by Entambula Yo was worked on by a startup called Arvana incubated at ResilientAfrica Network that won a grant in the range of $5000 – $7000 before it dissolved last year.
Martin, commenting on the issue of location said that they “have adopted geo-referenced street mapping to enable e-commerce as well.” However, South African WumDrop which was acquired by Makro has demonstrated that it is possible to enable e-commerce by turning one’s phone into an address. And, we are known for having mobile phones. The team might also want to check out how What3Words does.
When it comes to PakMe, actually there are apps doing that already. For example ParkMe (where they seem to have got the name from), JustPark, ParkWhiz and more. Though it doesn’t matter where the idea came from. In the end, execution and how it fits into the market is what matters.
Connect Kampala is part of the many hackathon series being carried out across several cities on the African continent in partnership. They’ll take place throughout January up to April 2018 in Kampala, Nairobi, Gauteng, Kigali and Dar es Salaam.