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UmojaHack Africa 2021 will build on a year of successful Zindi hackathons

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We are thrilled to announce that Zindi will host the second UmojaHack Africa on the weekend of 27 March 2021. The virtual machine learning hackathon will take place on www.zindi.africa and will be open to every university in Africa. Students will compete in teams across the continent to solve real-world problems using machine learning and artificial intelligence, for a chance to win prize money for themselves and their universities.

“The UmojaHack is a unique, first-of-its-kind event, bringing students from across Africa together for one weekend to learn, compete, and have fun,” says Celina Lee, CEO of Zindi. “The talent and dedication of the students is on full display during these hackathons, and it makes one feel very optimistic about the future of data science and AI on the continent.”

The 2021 event builds on a successful year of virtual university hackathons at Zindi. After the first UmojaHack Africa in March attracted more than 1000 university students from 56 African universities in 15 countries, Zindi hosted another 10 country-specific events in Rwanda, Ghana, Senegal, Algeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria, and Egypt over the course of the year.

In 2020, 2159 African students participated in a Zindi UmojaHack event (23% women), making a total of 10 004 submissions to the Zindi platform to solve 10 real African problems, such as predicting when a client will make a vehicle insurance claim, identifying marine animals to help understand climate change, and identifying positive and negative sentiment in Arabic dialect text.

These events would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors, including AWS, Google, H2O.ai, InstaDeep, and Microsoft, among others.

“What makes this platform amazing is that Zindi is tackling African problems.” Says Lawrence Muthoga, Developer Audience Lead Africa at Microsoft. “As someone who lives and works on the continent, the only thing that will really solve African problems is African solutions. So it’s wondrous to see 1000’s of students get online and take on these challenges, to see the overwhelming reach and the work being done. When we talk about young people changing the future, this is it.”

Zindi is also grateful to our partner organisations across the continent who made sure these events were well attended and ran smoothly – groups such as Data Science Nigeria, IEEE Tunisia Section and Egypt Section, AIOX Labs, and many more.

Above all, we are grateful to the students that joined the hackathons in force, contributing their time, energy, and skills to solving real problems that will have a tangible impact on Africa and the world, now and in the years to come. The UmojaHack events demonstrate the power of platforms and virtual communities like Zindi to leverage the power and passion of a new generation of African data scientists to solve problems and make a difference in Africa through AI.

To participate in UmojaHack Africa 2021, follow Zindi on social media channels to be informed when applications open, and talk to your university lecturers or data club presidents to make sure your university is enrolled.

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