May 2, 2024

#AfricaBuildsAI Hackathon: Showcasing African AI talent

This past week, we hosted the second edition of our #AfricaBuildsAI hackathon. The week-long, virtual event brought together international companies and talented African data scientists to explore how AI can tackle real business challenges.

This time around, we had two challenge host companies:
Bridging Gaps: A non-profit organisation that provides microloans to entrepreneurs in the global south, empowering them to establish their businesses. The team consisted of Winifred Kwakye from Ghana and Joshua Olalemi from Nigeria, and they worked together on a project to develop a data ecosystem to enable Bridging Gaps to better track their impact and provide data-driven insights to enhance the support they provide to entrepreneurs.

Barry Callebaut: Barry Callebaut is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, with a long-standing commitment to building a sustainable cocoa and chocolate supply chain. Team Barry Callebaut, which consisted of Naftali Indongo from Namibia and Nana Yaw Agyemang from Ghana, worked on a project to leverage publicly available data to provide insights to promote sustainable cocoa farming.

The hackathon was a busy week of teamwork, knowledge sharing, and innovative thinking. Here’s what some participants had to say:

“Participating in the hackathon was incredible for me. It challenged me to build machine-learning models that solve real-world problems, and this sharpened my problem-solving skills. Also, I got to collaborate with other talented individuals in data and machine learning, which motivated me. The most valuable aspect of furthering my career in data science was the hands-on experience I gained in brainstorming solutions as well as presenting built solutions and ideas to non-technical audiences. This experience helped me to enhance my technical skills and problem-solving abilities, which are both essential in the field of AI and data science.”
Winifred Kwakye, Participant

Our experience hosting a challenge within the #AfricaBuildsAI hackathon was fantastic. The preparation with the Ishango.ai team was smooth and well-organised, and our hackathon team did incredible work. Within just a few days, they developed a prototype for a machine learning-based model to predict our microloan repayment rates, a Power BI dashboard showcasing our data and the predictions derived from a public data set, and comprehensive next steps for us to follow. Once fully implemented, this initiative will have a massive impact on our work, help us save time, and help us make informed decisions.”
Bridging Gaps, Hackathon Host Company

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the participants and mentors who dedicated their time and expertise to making this hackathon a success. Their collaborative efforts produced innovative solutions that helped to spotlight the immense AI & data talent that exists across Africa. Furthermore, we appreciate the invaluable support from our challenge host companies, for their commitment to nurturing and showcasing African talent on the global stage.

As we reflect on the achievements of this hackathon, we are excited about the potential impact of these solutions on driving positive change across diverse sectors. The journey doesn’t end here; it marks the beginning of a new chapter in leveraging AI for sustainable development and inclusive growth in Africa and beyond.