Zindi hosts UmojaHack Africa 2021, Africa’s largest data science hackathon for students

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On 27-28 March 2021, data science students from 120 universities in 21 African countries will gather in their labs and in their homes to compete in UmojaHack Africa 2021. Over two days they will learn and develop their data science skills working on real-world challenges, and stand a chance to win more than $10 000 USD in prizes. The event will be broadcast live on Zindi’s YouTube channel and on, and the competition itself will take place on, Africa’s biggest data science competition platform.

“UmojaHack Africa has proven to be a game-changing event, especially when so many young people have been impacted by the global pandemic. This is a chance for students from across the continent to come together to learn, compete, and have fun,” says Celina Lee, CEO of Zindi. “UmojaHack is about building skills, creating new machine learning applications to solve real-world problems, and forging new connections among the students as well as with industry. We are incredibly excited to see what the students come up with in just one weekend.”

Universities from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Tunisia, Algeria, Senegal, and Tanzania have signed up for the weekend, with 21 African countries represented. Zindi is pleased to welcome prestigious universities such as the University of Cape Town, Carnegie Mellon University Africa, Makerere University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Cairo University, among many others.

Zindi is thrilled to welcome several prestigious sponsors of the event, including Microsoft, InstaDeep, Standard Bank, NVIDIA, DeepMind, and Old Mutual.

“We are incredibly excited about this event spanning over 100 African universities and helping thousands of African students leverage their Data Science and AI skills to solve African problems,” says Chris Lwanga, Principal Director for Software Partnerships at Microsoft.

“At Microsoft we believe in empowering every organisation and person to do more.”

“Standard Bank is deeply invested in funding and implementing critical data science skills development programmes, such as Zindi’s UmojaHack Africa 2021 hackathon, to position Africa as a serious competitor in the world’s rapidly emerging data-driven sector,” says Adrian Vermooten, Chief Innovation Officer, Standard Bank Group.

“We are delighted to support UmojaHack Africa again, an incredible initiative close to our hearts. Seeing students from more than 120 universities come together to collaborate on real-world machine learning challenges is truly inspiring,” says Karim Beguir, Co-Founder and CEO of InstaDeep. “This is, in our opinion, the best way to accelerate AI growth on the continent. Hackathons like UmojaHack bring us one step closer to achieving InstaDeep’s mission: building an AI-First world that benefits everyone.”

This is the second annual UmojaHack Africa event, building on the success of 2020’s inaugural event, which saw more than 1000 students join the competition from 56 African universities.

Students will be challenged to build machine learning models to solve one of three challenges of varying difficulty drawn from real data and real-world organisations. The competitions include a Financial Resilience challenge, a logistics challenge from African transport startup Sendy, and a computational biology challenge from DeepChain™. You can find out more about the challenges here. Solutions will be automatically ranked using Zindi’s objective scoring system.

Zindi is a data science competition platform on a mission to build the data science ecosystem in Africa. We host a community of more than 24 000 data scientists across Africa, dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing challenges through machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Data scientists and students come to Zindi to hone their skills, build their professional profile, connect with job opportunities, and to share ideas with their peers across Africa and beyond.

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