USPF Hackathon flyer

The USPF hackathon is seven days away; 18 – 20th September. Organized by the the Nigerian government-supported Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) and Lagos-based incubator, IDEA, the hackathon is designed to prompt ideas that will help drive ICT penetration to erstwhile unserved and underserved communities in Nigeria. Check out an earlier TechCabal coverage here.

Innovations from the hackathon will be guided by results from an earlier USPF research on telephony and network gap in Nigeria. TechCabal spoke with Kelechi Nwankwo, Head, Strategy and Corporate Performance Monitoring at Universal Service Provision Fund on the model solutions they have in mind for the hackathon and more.

TechCabal: What kinds of solutions are you hoping to see developed at the Hackathon?

Kelechi: The objective of the Hackathon is to develop applications, solutions and services that would drive ICT penetration in the unserved and underserved areas. Any solution or technology that could extend telecoms services and connectivity into previously unreached areas in Nigeria is what we are hoping to see developed at the hackathon. Examples of this include: Visualisation and Natural Language Interface software for the access gap data and other large data sets; decision support and network-optimisation software that help carriers; and other companies to plan their expansion; prototype of a web-­‐based data marketplace that allows for natural language search and easy visualization of data (sponsored by iDEA. Special Prize) and business models that can bring commercial viability to existing USPF pilot projects, and other rural connectivity projects.

Tell us about the USPF research that is the premise of this Hackathon. What is it, and why did USPF begin that research?

The vision of the USPF is “Equitable ICT Access for All”. The research was to empirically identify all areas within Nigeria that are either unserved or underserved to be able address their general and unique ICT requirements.

What is USPF?

USPF is Universal Service Provision Fund, and was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria to facilitate the achievement of national policy goals for universal access and universal service to information and communication technologies (ICTs) in rural, un-served and under-served areas in Nigeria.

What are other interesting data points from the research?

Interesting data points were: the population, economic activities, and similar patterns in each of the clusters, with defined boundaries.

What’s a helpful tip to participants at the hackathon?

Participants should visit the USPF Hackathon website and the USPF website to gain an insight into the ICT Access Gap Clusters based on which the Hackathon was designed. Participants can also read the guidelines for participation here on the website

What will be the most notable section in this hackathon?

The most interesting part of this Hackathon would be designing the apps/solution/service that would address social and/or economic needs of everyday Nigerians. The hackathon would just be the beginning, the follow up would be completing and implementing the technology for these areas to receive access.

Image via USPF

Gbenga Onalaja Author

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