November 18, 2014 – The Planet Earth Institute hosted the first-ever ‘Africa Data Challenge,’ as part of its #ScienceAfrica UnConference. The challenge is a groundbreaking competition that invites well-qualified parties to pitch their ideas for projects that harness data for real human impact in Africa.
While the ‘data revolution’ is a major theme in conversations on technology and business, there is little discussion on how it can enhance Africa’s scientific development in a practical way. The ‘Africa Data Challenge’ invited innovators from around the world to pitch their ideas for projects that can help translate and transmit the power of data to those on the continent.
Projects were unlimited in scope and focus but must be designed to have a practical human application in the next 12 months. Contestants presented their project live in front of a panel to include: Beejaye Kokil, Head of the Economic & Social Statistics Division – African Development Bank, David Tempest, Head of Director of Access Relations – Elsevier, Richard Pilling, Director of Professional Services & Analytics (EMEA and APAC) – Intel, and Mariéme Jamme, entrepreneur and CEO of SpotOne Global. The successful innovators will be awarded a cash prize of £7,000 and will receive PEI’s support to roll out their project.
The ‘Africa Data Challenge’ forms part of PEI’s second #ScienceAfrica UnConference, hosted by Rt Hon Lord Boateng and organized in partnership with the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the World Bank, and the European Commission.
The UnConference brings together over 120 people passionate about and working in science, development, and Africa for an interactive day of workshops and discussion. Participants come from diverse sectors, including international policy makers, academics, students as well as the general public. The UnConference will also be live streamed on the PEI website and people are encouraged to use the #ScienceAfrica hashtag on twitter to engage in a robust discussion about science, technology, and innovation in Africa.
Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, Chairman of the Planet Earth Institute said, “data holds a huge amount of promise for scientific development in Africa and for many different business sectors too, but we have not yet fully explored how it can be used at a local level to improve lives. We are always looking for practical ways to support science and technology, and this Africa Data Challenge will help do just that – developing and incubating new ideas with real impact.”