EU, African Union to host post-coronavirus solutions hackathon

The hackathon will take place in December.
The hackathon will take place in December. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

An EU:Africa online hackathon is seeking innovative solutions to socio-economic problems in Africa that have been amplified by the COVID-19 crisis.

The hackathon titled "The Post Crisis Journey" will take place in December and has been organized by Estonia and the African Union, in cooperation with Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Poland. The implementing partners Garage48 and Smart Africa. 

The idea submission is open for new ideas and those already being implemented which can contribute to softening the COVID-19 aftermath.  

The competition is looking for ideas in 11 areas: education, food security, health and wellness, governance, economy and entrepreneurship, Smart Cities in Africa, cyber security and data protection, big data, banking and finance, job security, vulnerable populations.

They should also be In line with the Africa-Europe Digital Economy Partnership Report as well as with AU Agenda 2063 and the United Nations sustainable development goals.

The programme is open for teams and individuals and the organisers hope to engage 10,000 tech-savvy and socially conscious participants, 300 mentors and at least 100 community building organisations from both the EU and Africa.

The most promising teams will receive guidance and support to implement their projects in the real world.

Post-hackathon support to the teams will include a matchmaking event with investors, experts and relevant organisations as well as post-hackathon mentoring for up to six months. The EU:Africa hackathon prize fund is €100,000 euros (fundraising ongoing). Organising the hackathon is funded by the development cooperation funds of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affair's Undersecretary for External Economic Policy and Development Cooperation Andres Rundu said Estonia has considerably expanded its contacts with the countries and organisations of the African continent in recent years.

"Organising a hackathon with such a level of ambition is a clear demonstration of how Estonia can use its digital strengths to advance the cooperation between the European Union and Africa in several ways. Even before the pandemic, the rapid development of Africa was spurring on a great interest in digital services, and now the digital transformation has gathered even more speed. This hackathon enables us to join the forces of Europe and Africa for a successful digital transformation," Rundu said.

African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Dr Amani Abou-Zeid said: "The post-COVID-19 era offers Africa an important opportunity to revitalise its economy under a green and smart framework that supports health and prosperity embracing new technologies. We are confident that youth shall put their creativity, innovation and ingenuity using digital skills into providing solutions that help Africa recover better and faster."

Garage48 has been organising hackathons and other entrepreneurship focused programmes for more than 10 years. The current program builds on the experience of #hackthecrisis global movement and The Global Hack. In April 2020 more than 10,000 participants from 98 countries joined The Global Hack to fight the pandemic. Dozens of the solutions that came out of the #hackthecrisis events have been implemented in real life already.

Martin Villig, a co-founder of Garage48 and Bolt, said he excited to see Garage48 going back to Africa: "Exactly 10 years ago we organised our first hackathon in Nairobi, Kenya and several African events followed. Now we are pleased to scale up the experience and bring together the talented tech communities of both continents."

Find out more information here.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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