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Research In Motion (RIM) seems determined to make its mark in Africa. The maker of BlackBerry smartphones and tablets has announced that it will be launching the BlackBerry Academic Program in Nigeria.
The BlackBerry Academic Program is part of RIM’s mission to support global education. According to the device manufacturer, “the programme helps students gain further knowledge of concepts related to mobile computing such as networks, spectrum, efficient use of battery life and mobile application development. Its aim is to bring new opportunities and industry relevant mobile computing curriculum that will prepare students for the wireless world.”
Nigeria’s programme will be at the Yaba College of Technology, a Nigerian tertiary institution based in Lagos, and will introduce free-to-use BlackBerry resources to its students, joining a worldwide programme that includes nearly 700 institutions in more than 113 countries.
According to Robert Bose, Regional Managing Director for Africa and the Middle East:
“Nigerians are a very important part of our global developer community so we are very excited to announce the Yaba College of Technology is joining the BlackBerry Academic Program. As part of our commitment to the Nigerian market, and the Nigerian government’s ICT initiatives, this underlines our strategic aim to support the future generation of mobile software developers, and to help create new jobs in this country. We also extend the invitation to more universities here in Nigeria to become part of this global network.”
The BlackBerry Academic Program, which is available to tertiary institutions and students throughout Nigeria and around the world, gives educators access to the latest teaching resources and BlackBerry technologies, equipping students with the knowledge and practical hands-on experience to enhance their development skills and create apps.
“We are proud to be one of the first institutions in Nigeria to officially sign up to the BlackBerry Academic Program. The mobile market, specifically app development, presents infinite opportunities for the future generation of Nigerians. Together with RIM, the BlackBerry Academic Program will help Yaba College equip our students with new skills and knowledge that will enable them to take advantage of the local and global opportunities available on the BlackBerry platform, a leading platform in the mobile market,” said Dr. Margaret Kudi Ladipo, Rector of Yaba College of Technology.
Other universities in Nigeria that have currently access to the tools and resources of BlackBerry Academic Programme through the web, include individuals at the Lagos State University, the Federal University of Technology Akure, Ekiti State University and Babcock University.
Robert Bose also said that: “staff and students in more than 100 institutions across Africa are using BlackBerry academic resources to prepare students embarking on careers and starting businesses in the fast growing mobile computing sector. As the leading smartphone vendor in Nigeria and across Africa, we believe that providing access to knowledge, skills and technology will help digital entrepreneurs take advantage of our smartphone market leadership in Africa, and reach over 78 million BlackBerry customers globally through the BlackBerry App World storefront.”
Recent research from Canalys (Canalys Smartphone Data, Q2 2012), says that RIM is the leading smartphone vendor in Africa.
Nigerian developers are creating local apps and content on the BlackBerry platform. These include the Nigerian Constitution App, by Pledge51 for access to important constitutional information, SeeAm, to find the location of all ATMs throughout Nigeria and the EssentialApp, a free-to-download BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) integrated app that provides a guide for entertainment and day-to-day life in Nigeria.