Africa’s largest inter-university hackathon brings students together on Zindi for data science, for good



UmojaHack Africa 2021 was an unprecedented success, bringing over 1000 students from 126 universities across Africa to compete on Zindi (www.Zindi.africa) in a virtual machine learning hackathon on the weekend of the 27th. to March 28. Over US $ 10,000 in prizes were awarded to data science students from 9 African countries, and over 8,500 submissions were made to solve three real-world machine learning challenges on Zindi.

Students from 21 African countries joined the event, representing Algeria, Benin, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

They participated in three different machine learning challenges: a financial resilience prediction challenge, a logistical challenge for African B2B service provider Sendy (www.Sendyit.com), and a computational biology challenge using the platform. DeepChain (www.DeepChain.bio) developed by InstaDeep. The winning solutions developed by Zindi users will be shared with these organizations and deployed in real world applications.

Winning words

By winning second place in the Sendy Delivery Rider Response Challenge, Tony Mipawa, a data science student at Dodoma University, Tanzania, embodied the spirit of Zindi and UmojaHack A year ago, Tony was a data science novice until he attends Zindi’s. very first mentoring program in 2020. It has grown in leaps and bounds since then, as evidenced by its award-winning submission to this hackathon, less than a year later.

“I’m very happy with the result,” Tony said at the awards ceremony. “My advice is that whenever there is an opportunity to learn, you should take it. Learning is about passion; whenever there is an opportunity to learn, put all your effort into it, do it well. Try to learn from everyone you meet. I want to thank Zindi for what this mentoring program has given me.

Global assistance

UmojaHack Africa 2021 was sponsored by some big names in the global and African tech, AI and finance industries including InstaDeep (www.InstaDeep.com), Standard Bank Group (www.StandardBank.com), Microsoft ( www.Microsoft.com), DeepMind (www.DeepMind.com), NVIDIA (www.NVIDIA.com) and Old Mutual (www.OldMutual.com). They played a vital role in the success of the event by offering financial and professional development prizes, bringing their expertise and enthusiasm to the event and supporting UmojaHack Africa 2021 through their own channels.

“We are extremely excited about this event which covers over 100 African universities and helps thousands of African students to use their data science and AI skills to solve African problems,” says Chris Lwanga, senior director of software partnerships at Microsoft.

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

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

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

According to Celina Lee, CEO of Zindi, “UmojaHack Africa has proven to be a game-changing event, especially when so many young people have been affected by the global pandemic. It’s a chance for students from across the continent to come together to learn, compete and have fun. UmojaHack is all about building skills, creating new machine learning applications to solve the problems that really matter, while forging new connections between students and with industry. We are extremely happy to see what the students come up with in just one weekend. “

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