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The First Edition of the Intel® Liftoff African Development Sprint AI Hackathon

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By Dr. Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo, Director, Government Affairs Africa and IGA CTO Liaison (PE); Ralph de Wargny, Director, Intel Liftoff for Startups

Technology forms the bedrock of transformative change, and Africa is quickly becoming a major contributor to the AI ecosystem. The inaugural Intel® Liftoff African Development Sprint AI Hackathon is set to take place virtually from September 22-29, 2023, and will concentrate on Large Language Models (LLM) and Generative AI for African startups.

The impact of these startups on the African continent resonates across sectors such as healthcare, fintech, agriculture, and the environment. Intel-led studies on the current state of African deep tech startups and spin-offs ecosystem portray an optimistic picture of this ecosystem. The study, conducted in collaboration with AfriLabs and Briter Bridges, evaluates the African Deep Tech Startup ecosystem and found that AI/ML and Computer Vision, the two dominant tech clusters, account for an impressive 60% of deep tech startups. In addition, data, cloud & edge, and autonomous/robotics technologies are steadily gaining traction.

These changes mean that African countries’ economies have the opportunity to grow in ways that are new and exciting. Intel, a pivotal contributor in this environment, is strategically positioned to support Africa's digital boom.

The Digitalize Africa Strategic Program has four main goals:

  • Supporting the African startup ecosystem
  • Connecting underserved communities through the Intel Community Reach Programme
  • Encouraging innovation through the Intel Research and Innovation Programme
  • Enhancing digital competencies for policymakers and youth

The Intel® Liftoff African Development Sprint AI Hackathon is an instrumental part of this strategy, designed to augment digital "deep-tech" skills and extend important research and development resources. Daniel Han-Chen, co-founder of Moonshot and a former participant in an Intel® Liftoff hackathon, can attest to the huge educational and growth possibilities that this platform offers. African AI startups can leverage the Hackathon to enhance their technical skills, get a unique platform to showcase their ideas, and even secure an Intel® Liftoff membership.

One of the most exciting parts of the AI Hackathon is the chance for the top three African AI startups to pitch their ideas to experts from Intel Ignite and potential sponsors. Participants will gain hands-on experience in boosting their code and AI performance on the Intel AI Developer Cloud using the latest Intel Xeon CPUs and Data Center GPU Max.

The top five winners will also be invited to join the global Intel® Liftoff for Startups programme. The winners will have the opportunity to showcase their innovation virtually at Web Summit 2023, in Lisbon.

The Hackathon begins on a Friday with two intensive hours of planning and strategizing, followed by a three-day hacking session from Monday to Wednesday. The culminating Demo Day on Thursday is where participants will present their innovations and breakthroughs.

The Intel® Liftoff Hackathon is more than just a competition; it's also a catalyst for African businesses, providing them with international exposure, the chance to raise capital, and the ability to develop a highly skilled digital workforce.

Registration ends on August 11, 2023. If you're an African startup looking to make your mark in the world of AI, register using this link:  https://airtable.com/shrZm5o6Cb66INJwY

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