Niamey, Niger, 13 March 2023 (ECA) - The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) successfully hosted the ECA 2023 Hackathon which took place from 27th February to 1st March at the Palais des Congres Conference Center in Niamey, Niger, under the theme of leveraging digital technologies for climate resilience and adaptation.
The Hackathon received over 90 applications from young innovators and tech enthusiasts across the five regions of Africa. Participants explored and presented innovative solutions to address climate change concerns, which will contribute to positive and sustainable development across the continent. The event featured 25 emerging technologies for building climate resilience and adaptation, including geo-mapping services for efficient garbage collection and recycling, drone and AI for smart agriculture, mobile apps to support farmers or extension workers, and ecologic bamboo toothbrushes as an alternative to plastic.
The Hackathon included project pitching training and mentorship sessions to further validate the ideas of the participants towards meeting the innovation challenge aimed at addressing relevant UN SDGs such as Zero Hunger, Climate Action, and Affordable and Clean Energy, among others. The Technical Advisory Group formed by ECA recognized three projects that showed exceptional effort focusing on ICT and climate change as the award winners of the ECA 2023 Hackathon competition.
The Senegalese team NATAL project received the USD 2,000 grand prize for proposing a sensor-equipped device that collects comprehensive real-time data on weather and climate conditions, helping farmers make informed decisions about agricultural practices. Digital platforms EcoLog to help companies, organizations, and individuals reduce their carbon footprint and finance projects fighting against greenhouse gases, and VerdeVille for ethically sourcing recyclable waste and enhancing the supply and value chain, respectively, obtained second and third place awards.
At the closing ceremony, awards and certificates were handed out by Mactar Seck, ECA’s Chief of Technology and Innovation Section, James Murombedzi, ECA’s Chief of the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC), and Erick Tambo, Program Head at United Nations University.
Mactar Seck, noted, ‘The Hackathon opened an opportunity for developers, innovator communities, and young innovators across the continent to demonstrate the power of partnerships and to build innovative digital solutions ready for quick implementation and can give immediate results to build Africa's climate change resilience’.
Mr. James Mborombezi said, "African youth hold the key to realize the potential contributions of digital technologies to climate change adaptation in Africa. The innovative projects presented at this hackathon provide ample evidence of this potential. We need to support the youth by incubating and upscaling their solutions to turn the potential into actual climate change adaptation actions."
Mr. Erick Tambo, Program Head at United Nations University, said, "The design of the hackathon is a true expression of Pan-Africanism and science diplomacy with solutions co-created by youths from different countries in the continent addressing local, regional challenges with global relevance towards climate change."
The ECA Hackathon was applauded for its hands-on engagement in allowing young innovators to be more creative and explore solutions that leverage digital technologies for offering alternative solutions to climate resilience through cross-border understanding of climate change challenges.
The ECA Hackathon was organized by ECA’s Technology and Innovation Section in collaboration with the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC), on the margins of the 9th Africa Regional Forum for Sustainable Development (ARFSD2023).
For more information about the ECA Hackathon, please visit: https://www.uneca.org/eca-events/hackathon2023
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Tel: +251 11 551 5826