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Local Firm Develops App To Boost Tourism Earnings

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Startups

March 3, 2021, 2:45 p.m.

Germain Rwibutso, software developer and Chief Executive of Binary Earth, was on Wednesday awarded as the winner of the MTN Yolo Hackathon after his team developed an application that seeks to increase tourist revenue.

Rwibutso emerged the winner from the top five contenders of the competition, alongside local innovators Yves Mutsinzi and Joselyn Nisingizwe as the first and second runner-up respectively.

The awarding ceremony was presided over by the Minister of Youth and Culture, Rosemary Mbabazi, the Minister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education, Gaspard Twagirayezu, MTN Rwanda CEO, Mitwa Kaemba Ng'ambi among other officials.

Organized by MTN Rwanda, MTN Yolo Hackathon is a youth challenge that seeks to address specific challenges in the local communities by developing digital channels.

During the hackathon, Rwandan youth have an opportunity to create innovative financial applications and transactions using the Mobile Money API (MoMo) MTN platform.

Rwibutso’s team which scooped a cash prize of Rwf2 million developed a mobile application, (MensaH) that will among others allow tourists to purchase goods online.

“I have previously worked in areas where tourists visit, love the products but can’t purchase because they have no means to take all of them back home,” Rwibutso told The New Times in an interview on Wednesday.

He added, “But with our new project MensaH, they will be able to scan the products and we can send them via delivery companies to their address.”

Rwibutso decried that while most airlines only allow a passenger to carry 40kg on the aircraft, some tourists return home without purchasing their preferred goods.

“The technology is now there. We were only missing the mobile money API to integrate the payment model. I believe that in less than two months, this product will be on market.”

In addition, the 30-year-old noted that besides tourists, the technology will also serve Rwandans.

“This is not entirely for tourists, even Rwandans. For example, if a person goes to a certain supermarket with no intentions of going back home, they can simply scan the goods and we deliver them to their address.”

Scams, faulty goods not a threat

It is true that with an e-commerce business, some people will receive goods contrary to what they ordered online.

“But for this product, the person buying the goods will have physically been at the market, they will see the good and touch it. This means that they will know once a good is faulty or not.”

“We have already secured partnerships both on the local market and international market, and we will soon launch the project.”

Work harder and smarter

In her remarks, minister Mbabazi challenged the winners to follow their passion, work harder and smarter as well as giving back to their communities.

She also commended MTN Rwanda’s initiative to bring Rwandan youth together and enable them to thrive for a better country.

“The youth empowerment agenda is a complex assignment that cannot be achieved without synergies and complementarity between the Government and private sector,” she said.

Mbabazi called upon the winners to embrace the available resources.

Our old generation and the generations before, we were trying to survive, but the current generation is looking at how do we survive and thrive and be competitive?” she added, “So it is beyond just survival it’s also about supporting others, it's also using the infrastructure that we have as a nation, that the government has already invested in, and ensure that we support ourselves but we also support our communities.”

Yolo Hackathon, she pointed out, is creating opportunities not only for the brilliant ideas or the brilliant minds of young people but also the right instruments that you are putting in place and the efforts needed to support them to strive.

MTN Rwanda CEO, Ngambi echoed similar sentiments, adding that the telecommunications house is ready to invest more among Rwandan youth.

Source: News Times

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Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.

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