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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Africa Data Challenge


The Planet Earth Institute (PEI) (http://www.planetearthinstitute.org.uk), an international NGO that works for the scientific independence of Africa, held its first-ever ‘Africa Data Challenge’, as part of their #ScienceAfrica UnConference, held at Impact HUB, Westminster on November 18.

The ‘Africa Data Challenge’ had parties pitch their ideas for projects that harness data for real, human impact in Africa. Innovators from around the world pitched their ideas for projects that can help translate and transmit the power of data to those on the continent.

In a press release prior to the challenge 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 haven’t yet fully explored how it can be used at a local level to improve lives."

"As an NGO 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."

Projects were unlimited in scope and focus, but designed to have a practical, human application in the next 12 months. Contestants presented to a live panel of judges and the successful innovators will be rewarded with a cash prize of £7,000 and receive PEI’s support to roll out their project.

The ‘Africa Data Challenge’ forms part of the PEI’s second #ScienceAfrica UnConference, which is hosted by Rt Hon Lord Boateng and run in partnership with UN Economic Commission for Africa, the World Bank and the European Commission.

The UnConference brought together over 120 people passionate about and working in science, development and Africa for an interactive day of workshops and discussions.

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.

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