October 23, 2023

AfricaBuildsAI Hackathon: Showcasing African AI talent

AfricaBuildsAI hackathon

From October 11–18, we hosted our inaugural #AfricaBuildsAI hackathon. The hackathon offered a unique platform for companies to explore the potential of AI in addressing real-world business challenges, working in collaboration with African data science talent.

With over 11 countries and nationalities represented, the hackathon was a truly international affair. Over the course of one week, 13 promising African data scientists, supported by 10 senior mentors, worked on a wide range of challenges from six visionary organisations:

Na’amal: Na’amal works to empower refugees and underrepresented communities by providing them with practical skills to access sustainable remote work opportunities, regardless of their location. Their hackathon team, consisting of Owuraku Zenas Awuku and Joana Mamley Teye from Ghana, developed a job placement API to support access to dignified employment for Na’amal alumni.

Rewion: Rewion is a pioneering sustainable IT consultancy that harnesses data for environmental impact mitigation. Team Rewion, which consisted of Albert Dellor and Chantelle Amoako-Atta from Ghana, developed a sustainable IT carbon footprint tracker for electronic devices to mitigate environmental impacts and promote sustainability.

Dance: Dance is revolutionising urban mobility with its subscription service that offers full-service electric bikes and mopeds with the goal of making cities more livable. The team, made up of Alexis Djodjimadji from Benin and Patrick Uwayo from Rwanda, created data-driven solutions to support Dance’s mission of enabling greener and more sustainable urban mobility.

LadyAgri: LadyAgri focuses on empowering women within the agri-value chain, driving economic and environmental advancement. The LadyAgri team, which consisted of Alex Akorli from Ghana, Rose Adeyinka from Nigeria, and Nadine Bisanukuli Cyizere from Rwanda, analysed gender differences in financing within the cassava value chain, aiming to promote gender equality and financial inclusivity.

Bboxx: Bboxx is dedicated to expanding access to clean energy solutions across Africa while prioritising affordability and social impact. Jacob B. Ojumu and Jam Roderick Joh from Nigeria focused on applying predictive analytics with the goal of helping Bboxx reach more customers with essential products and services.

Boreal Bikes: Boreal Bikes is paving the way for AI-enabled urban mobility by providing foundational technology and datasets. The Boreal team, comprising Francis Jeremiah Majawa from Rwanda and Fontaine Nguimatio from Cameroon, explored AI applications for urban mobility with the aim of making cities more efficient, sustainable, and accessible.

The hackathon was an intense week of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and cutting-edge innovation. Here’s what some of our participants and mentors had to say about the experience

“It was a great opportunity to learn new skills, collaborate with fellow data enthusiasts, and apply our knowledge to real-world problems. I found the most valuable aspect of the hackathon to be the feedback and guidance from our supervisors, who helped us improve our solution and presentation. I also liked the challenge of working under time pressure and delivering a quality product within the given deadline.” Chantelle Amoako, participant

“It has been a valuable experience for me. The idea of completing a task for a client in a week was already enough to test the speed at which my skills in data science could quickly be deployed to help my team. I enjoyed the mentoring process and, most importantly, the teamwork.” Alex Akorli, participant

“Such short events where you meet together with people to create something in a short time are the best accelerators of personal growth, and by meeting new students and mentoring them through this project, I think I grew a lot, and I hope they did as well.” Jan Ravnik, mentor

We would like to extend a huge thanks to our amazing teams, who worked together to bring fresh perspectives to the challenges and develop unique solutions. Thank you also to our challenge host companies for being part of our mission to develop and showcase African AI talent on the global stage. The impact of this event will extend far beyond its conclusion, as these solutions have the potential to drive positive change across the globe.