By FREDICK OBURA
Through the Safaricom Academy, the partnership would offer masters training to graduates interested in mobile software application appealing to the Kenya market.
"The Master of Science in telecommunication innovation and development certificate would be in exchange of the studentâs innovative ideas/projects to be pushed to Safaricom subscribers for free," said Bob Collymore Safaricom Chief Executive Officer.
"The high unemployment situation in the country coupled with the current availability of data capacity has created a huge opportunity for developing and commercialising affordable innovative applications," he said.
"This opportunity can only be exploited through fostering and nurturing ideas in a supportive environment which can produce applications attractive enough for our subscriber consumption," he said.
Safaricom Academy would provide entrepreneurial talent with certified qualifications and experiential training in collaboration with global academic institutions.
The first programme is the Master of Science in telecommunication innovation and development to be realised in a collaborative effort with Strathmore University.
The academic programme will run for two years. This will be after a series of successful incubation period in Safaricomâs development garages. Collymore said all applications developed during this time would be owned by Safaricom and offered as free content to its customers.
The leading mobile phone operator in East Africa is currently facing stiff competition from other operators. The has led to reduction termination charges and subsequent decline in voice income..
"Mobile phone application relevant to our subscribers would drive up our internet business. This collaboration would be useful," said Collymore.
Strathmore University Vice Chancellor John Odhiambo said the initiative is a good example of linkages beween academia and industry. "The academia needs the support of industry in order to produce job ready graduates," he said.