Aspiring data science students work on UmojaHack Africa 2021 problems at their universities across Africa.

UmojaHack Africa 2021 was an unprecedented success, bringing more than 1000 students from 126 universities across Africa to compete on Zindi in a virtual machine learning hackathon on the weekend of 27–28 March. More than $10 000 USD in prizes were awarded to data science students from 9 African countries, and more than 8500 submissions were made to solve three real-world machine learning challenges on Zindi.

Students from 21 African countries joined the event, representing Algeria, Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


Davis David represents Zindi at a dLab event.
Davis David represents Zindi at a dLab event.
Davis David represents Zindi at a dLab event.

Davis David is one of Zindi’s first ambassadors, representing Zindi in Tanzania since June 2019. He is the CEO of ParrotAI, helps run the Deep Learning IndabaX event in Tanzania, is a member of AI Exponential Thinker, and even manages to find time to write articles for Analytics Vidya and the Zindi blog.

“The best part of being a Zindi Ambassador is the spirit of teamwork from Zindi management and our ambassadors across Africa,” he says.

“Working with Zindi has motivated me to be more active and work harder to make sure my fellow data science and machine learning practitioners…

“I joined Zindi and became an ambassador because I loved the idea that we would have an African platform for data science competition. My main goal was to build and support the African community of data science.”

Mohamed Salem Jedidi is one of Zindi’s first and most accomplished users, and part of our first group of ambassadors. He consistently performs well in Zindi challenges and has won several, including the Traffic Jam challenge, Zindi’s largest prized competition to date. He is currently ranked #2 on Zindi’s leaderboard.

“Data science competitions are like a race, and you should be proud of…

“Zindi and Local Ocean Conservation (LOC) share the belief that we live in an interconnected world filled with talent; in our case the talent and technical expertise we needed was not in house. A Zindi campaign enables us to get solutions we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to get,” says Justin Beswick, CEO of Kenyan conservation organisation Local Ocean Conservation. “It’s really valuable to step out of the conservation space and tap into other industries, sectors and skills, such as Zindi’s data science community.”

LOC is a small organisation based in Watamu, Kenya that has been protecting and rehabilitating turtles…

“It is really gratifying for us at SAEON to be able to pull this kind of thing together using government-based data sources; it shows us what’s possible. We spend so much time and money working on climate change with government and non-government partners, but no one has done anything like this before.”

Dr Amelia Hilgart is talking about the recently-published African air quality dataset developed in partnership with Zindi, created using a model developed by Zindi users as part of a 60-hour hackathon earlier this year. …

“We asked Zindi to give us a way to predict when a customer would ‘churn’ or leave as a paying customer,” says Zimnat’s Chief Digital Officer, Oswin Zulu. “We built the winning models into a dashboard with a customer profile and the likelihood of them leaving the business, and that dashboard is now given to our customer care agents.”

The Zimnat Insurance Assurance Challenge on Zindi attracted just under 300 Zindi users from all over the world, and in 60 hours in May produced winning solutions from users in Nigeria, Tunisia and India. …

“Winning the Mtoto News challenge was a great motivation. It boosted my confidence and encouraged me to work harder. I went back to old courses, paying attention to every part, especially the mathematics.”

Lawrence Moruye’s data science journey is, in a lot of ways, the story of Zindi. He was in second year when he realised that data science was a promising career for someone like him, looking to combine a passion for mathematics and computer science. Just a few months later, Alfred Ongere of AI Kenya invited him to the Nairobi hackathon that launched the Zindi platform.

First steps


On Saturday 22 March 2020, Zindi hosted the first ever pan-African inter-university hackathon, UmojaHack Africa. This groundbreaking event took place in extraordinary circumstances with the world in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonetheless and in spite of escalating university closures as governments introduced safety precautions to counter the pandemic, students from 70 universities in 15 African countries competed for cash prizes, and seized the opportunity to collaborate and hone their machine learning skills.

The day kicked off with a brief address from Celina Lee, CEO of Zindi, as she welcomed the participants and sponsors to the event. Paul Kennedy…

Have you ever met one of those people who seem to do everything well? Our Senegalese ambassador Thierno Diop is one of those people.

He’s a popular figure in data science circles in francophone West Africa, and quietly and humbly leads the AI and machine learning movement in Senegal and beyond through his passion and hard work. As well as representing Zindi in West Africa since 2019, he is a full-time machine learning engineer at Baamtu, consults at other organisations, and runs GalsenAI, a Senegalese AI community with more than 700 members that he co-founded last year.

Thierno’s specialty is…

“The Zindi Mentorship Programme was a journey worth taking; I’ve really learned a lot that I can put in practice. My group helped me understand the power of working together; we enjoyed it and ended up on the top of the leaderboard together.” — John Godday, Nigeria

John Godday is one of 18 junior data scientists selected for Zindi’s first ever Mentorship Programme, which ran in July and August this year. Along with his teammates Anthony Mipawa (Tanzania) and Njeri Maina (Kenya), he learned the basics of practical data science from his mentor Lawrence Moruye (Zindi Ambassador and senior data…


Zindi is a competition platform hosting a community of data scientists dedicated to solving Africa’s toughest challenges through machine learning & AI

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