Zindi, host of the largest community of data scientists and the first data science competition platform across Africa, held its third annual UmojaHack competition in March 2022.
This inter-university hackathon consisted of over 1,200 participants from 325 universities across 30 countries in Africa. The participants delivered more than 11,000 machine learning solutions to real-life challenges.
This competition was held on the weekend of March 19 and 20. According to the CEO of Zindi, Celina Lee, She said:
We are thrilled with how the event went. From the excitement and engagement of communities across Africa to the insights and wisdom shared by our incredible speakers, and the amazing support from our sponsors, UmojaHack Africa 2022 was a weekend that will leave a lasting impact in the African data science space, and with all our participants.Celina Lee, CEO of Zindi
Still on the competition, the CEO explained that Zindi’s mission remains to make AI accessible across Africa, hence the developments of the machine learning solutions and data science capacity.
As we build the biggest professional network for data science, it’s important to remember why we do what we do. This annual hackathon and our upcoming career day provide opportunities for us to empower communities and users all over Africa to improve their careers, and their lives, through Zindi.
According to Yacine Barro Bourgault, Enablement Lead at Microsoft Africa Transformation Office, he explained that their own intention is focused primarily on empowering the youths on their digital skilling journey. He recognised the energy and passion of these young students.
Bridging the digital skills gap in Africa is vital to the future success of the continent. Technology is a critical enabler of the transformation that will unfold across the continent in the coming decade, which is why Microsoft is a committed partner in this journey.
Zindi is one of the largest communities of 40,000 data scientists from Africa. It is majorly focused on the use of AI and machine learning to solving pressin g issues. It is also a network platform for data scientists to learn, grow, connect.
Their mission is to transform Africa as a continent and showcase African talents across the world.
Apart from the UmojaHack, it has also organised a data sector career day next month with their sponsors, clients, partners and other companies, giving them an opportunity to connect with the Africa’s data talents as identified by the competition.
The idea behind this is to provide an avenue for recruiters and business leaders to meet up in an informal setting with students. This will be maintained by exclusive access to Zindi’s curated database of data science profiles.
Some of the sponsors of these two events are Microsoft, Absa, Instadeep, DeepMind, NVIDIA, H2O.ai, and Explore Data Science Academy.
UmojaHack Africa Event
The major highlight was the inspiring group of speakers from the African and global data sector; Dan Zigmond from Apple, Karim Beguir from InstaDeep, Kate Kallot from NVIDIA, Gavin Cope from Absa, Bayo Adekanbi from DSN and Moustapha Cisse from Google AI Research.
These speakers explained and shared insights on how data science and machine learning can be implemented in the real-life world, ending their speeches with words of advice and encouragements for these young students.
Sam Masikini (Zindi ambassador for Malawi and AI innovator in his own right) kept the event moving forward and the crowds entertained with his high energy performance.
The activities of the events from the weekend are now made available on Zindi’s YouTube channel.
The hackathon challenge had three categories – beginner, intermediate, and advanced, and participants from 30 countries battle it out on the Zindi leaderboard.
The challenge in the beginner category focused on organising faults generated by air quality sensors. The winners included Khaireddine Medhioub from Tunisia, who placed third; Vincent Njonge from Kenya who placed second; and Maryam Afolabi from Nigeria, who finished in first place.
In the intermediate category dominated by Nigerian students, the challenge was for teams to predict the value of future short-term insurance claims. Eniola Olaleye, Saheed Azeez, and Joseph Olaide from Nigeria placed third. Victor Olufemi, Paul Okewunmi, and Oluwadunsin Fajemila, also from Nigeria placed second and Lawrence Moruye from Senegal came out first place.
In the final category with the most advanced challenge, students had to predict how eight commercial anti-venoms would respond to venom from different snakes. In this category, Daniel Bruintjies from South Africa placed third, and Mokhtar Mami and Azer Ksouri both from Tunisia placed second and first, respectively.
Each winning student from each country was also given a prize award and Zindi awarded prizes worth USD 10,000.
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