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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Abdu Sekalala - The 23 Year Old Ugandan Raking in Lots of Money From Mobile Phone Apps

Meet Uganda's Abdu Sekalala, a 23 year old student at the School of Computing and Information Technology, Makerere University. Abdu  has so far developed 9 internationally rated mobile phone apps and is currently raking in thousands of dollars  every month.

Abdu’s break came after he learned to develop mobile phone apps at a Nokia sponsored training for session in Uganda in 2011. Initially, he intended to focus on enterprise systems and the web, but changed his mind after realising that mobile apps would give him the chance of impacting the lives of more people across Africa and the world. When he developed his first app after the training, Nokia was willing to customize it for Ovi, their app store.

Of his 9 mobile phone apps, all are free except for one called Workbook, a dictionary app. It has word of the day feature which provides definitions, synonyms and examples. For every download, the app which is available on Nokia’s Ovi store, Abdu makes $1.25. By mid-2012, it had been downloaded more than 300,000 times, earning him $375,000. The highest downloads for Workbook so far have been in India and Thailand showing just how far African developers can reach. His other apps can be downloaded for free, however Sekalala monetizes them through ads. 

Sekalala makes at least $100 a day from his apps with his only investment being his time. He advises other young people to take advantage of opportunities when they come knocking, I believed I was going going to make a mark when Uganda Theme performed impressively. In addition to developing apps, he runs 2 other companies that focus on website development; Gogetta which employs 8 people and Foo Technology with 7 employees making Sekalala an inspiration to budding techies all over Africa.

On his strategy for success: “ Majorly, it is simple dedication. A Senior 4 student can put me out of business if I do not give it time.” While most students his age know Facebook simply as a social site, Sekalala looked at the social networking site differently and wondered whether he could create something along those lines and takes the founder Mark Zuckerberg as his role model.

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