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Friday, June 2, 2023

ge at one of Africa’s largest hackthaon

Africa’s focus on climate change is gaining momentum and the youth is using technology to achieve good outcomes.

This has been evident at the UmojaHack Africa 2023 – the single largest pan-African machine learning hackathon which was held between 18-19 February at the

The event brought together over 1000 students studying at 345 universities located in 36 countries.

The aim – to conceptualise and construct technology-led machine models aimed at tackling climate change in Africa and around the world.

The students took part in various challenges and in the end, the following winners were announced.

  • For the Rubik’s Cube Reinforcement Learning Challenge – Akram Badreddine Laissaoui and Nazim Bendib from École National Supérieure Informatique (ENSI) in Algeria clinched first place.
  • For the Cryptojacking Detection Challenge the winners were winners were Wiem Khlifi, Malek Sahlia, and Firas Jaadari from École Nationale des Scienc de l’Informatique (ENSI from Tunisia.
  • For the Carbon Dioxide Prediction Challenge – the winner was Stephen Kolesh, from Multimedia University (MMU) in Kenya.

Students won prizes of cash and online learning licenses amounting to more than $10 000.

Sponsors for the event included Mara, DeepMind, Kaggle, MPOWER Financing, African Energy Chamber, and InstaDeep, who gave expert advice and shared datasets to make the event a success.

Speaking at the event Celina Lee, CEO and co-founder of Zindi said: “With the world facing a dramatic shortage of data talent in the next 5-10 years, UmojaHack Africa serves a critical global need in unearthing and upskilling emerging data talent from new markets. We are thrilled with the turnout and enthusiasm of the students who participated in UmojaHack Africa 2023 this year, and look forward to seeing these rising stars develop into successful professionals on the Zindi platform.”

Zindi has grown the network of participating universities to almost 350 higher education institutions, academies, technical colleges, and bootcamps across the continent.

It has also brought together more educational institutions in Africa such as AIMS, University of Cape Town, Makerere University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, and Cairo University, among many others.

Avishkar Boopchand, Senior Research Engineer at DeepMind, addressed participants on the day: “We need Africans to build African solutions to African problems. I’m really excited by the young, talented, and enthusiastic population on the continent. We’re not encumbered by old technology and an aging population; we can leapfrog the developed world, learn from their mistakes and leverage tech innovation to solve problems and drive growth.”

He also said UmojaHack Africa was a powerful demonstration of the potential of machine learning to drive positive change in Africa. With the support of students, universities, sponsors and partners, the event continues to provide a platform for young talent to learn, grow, and make a meaningful impact on the world.

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