The largest hackathon in West Africa is set to take place in Lagos, Nigeria from  Friday 13th – Sunday 15th of August 2021. Developers in Nigeria are called upon on a quest to “Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to Drive Digital Transformation in Africa” –– the theme of this year’s Hackathon. 

Africa has registered impressive economic growth over the past decade and a half, displaying remarkable resilience in the midst of global volatility and turmoil. Time is now ripe for the continent to turn the chapter and embark on a journey towards a major economic transformation. For this, Africa needs a new economic growth model powered by the strength of the real economy, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Emerging technologies can play a critical role in helping Africa address its age-old development challenges and achieve exponential growth over the next decade.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the main driver of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). And while it is not a new concept for decades computers have been programmed by humans to make decisions on available facts. But what is different now, as technology advances every day, is an evolution in machine learning. Machines are now developing what is known as “tacit knowledge”, which is essentially how the human mind works. And this will only improve with the explosion of data.

According to the World Wide Web Foundation, much focus has been on countries leading the AI revolution, while middle and low-income countries, such as Nigeria and Ghana, are being left behind.

Research by McKinsey estimates that AI is contributing to a transformation of society “happening 10 times faster and at 300 times the scale” of the Industrial Revolution. So, it only makes sense that these countries start embracing AI and spotting opportunities because there are many benefits such as deepening democracy, improving service delivery and growing economies.

The event will take place from 13th – 15th August 2021 with participants joining virtually from across the country. Over 500 developers will work in teams of four members (minimum of two members), to develop tech-enabled solutions that will address problems in Nigeria and the rest of Africa with a special focus on Artificial Intelligence. The top three solutions will receive cash prizes totalling ₦1,000,000 with support to further develop the solution at scale.

Speaking at the event are Nigerian industry experts such as Olutoyin Ogumola, Head of Enterprise Data Office, Stanbic IBTC, Gbemisola Osadua, Managing Partner of Dynamics Impact Legal, Jiraji Kelvin, Founder of Agritech Hub & Innovation Centre, Mayowa Adeoti, Digital Skills & Education Consultant and John Egwu, Vice President of Operations at AutoChek Africa. 

Also contributing from Ghana are George Kwadwo Appiah, CEO of SolarTaxi & Executive Director of Ghana Tech Lab/Kumasi Hive, Caroline Pomeyie, CEO of Oceans Mall Ltd., Cecil Nutakor, CEO of eCampus, Kwame A. A. Opoku, Founder of Reset Global People and Desmond Koney, CEO of Complete Farmer.

“The hackathon is expected to expose more Nigerian developers to the concept of Artificial intelligence and support them with the requisite tools, knowledge and expert resources to create commercially viable solutions. It also aims to teach the participants the essence of teamwork and its importance on creating global change together” said, Foster Awintiti Akugri, President, Hacklab Foundation.

“We have seen the impact these hackathons have created, providing jobs for over 800 people and connecting industry to some of the brightest talents in tech. We have no doubt this will add up to the vibrant Nigerian tech ecosystem”, he also said.

Here’s how you can be a part of the event: The event will be streamed live on the Hacklab Foundation’s Facebook & YouTube pages.

Hacklab Foundation is an international nonprofit organization headquartered in Ghana with a focus on preparing the youth for future digital jobs through technology education and skills development. It’s hosting its first-ever hackathon in Nigeria with support from companies IBM, Mind the Gap, BlueAfric Media and TechCabal.

Since its inception in 2015, Hacklab Foundation has directly impacted over 10,000 people, organized hackathons, robotics, and coding boot camps for kids between the ages of 7yrs – 13yrs supported 500+ women in tech and placed over 800+ youth in jobs.

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