Estonia helps organise a hackathon to seek solutions to socio-economic problems in Africa

Estonia and the African Union, in cooperation with Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Poland, are organising an online hackathon to seek solutions to socio-economic problems in Africa that have been amplified by the novel coronavirus crisis.

The EU-Africa hackathon, arranged with partners from Garage48, an Estonian startup organisation, and Smart Africa, an entity that aims to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development on the continent, is to take place online from 10-13 December.

The hackathon is open for team and individual sign ups – visionaries, developers, designers, marketers, entrepreneurs, engineers and anyone socially active, the Estonian foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The organisers hope to engage 10,000 tech-savvy and socially conscious participants, 300 mentors and at least 100 community building organisations from both the EU and Africa,” the ministry said. “The idea submission is open for new ideas and those already being implemented which can contribute to softening the COVID-19 aftermath.”

A €100,000 prize fund

The competition is looking for ideas in 11 areas: education, food security, health and wellness, governance, economy and entrepreneurship, Smart Cities in Africa, cyber security and data protection, big data, banking and finance, job security, vulnerable populations.

The most promising teams will receive guidance and support to implement their projects in the real world. Post-hackathon support to the teams will include a matchmaking event with investors, experts and relevant organisations as well as post-hackathon mentoring for up to six months. The hackathon prize fund is €100,000. Organising the hackathon is funded by the Estonian foreign ministry’s development cooperation funds.

The recruitment of participants and mentors has started online.

Garage48 is a series of international startup events for turning ideas into working prototypes in 48 hours. The organisation has been arranging hackathons for over 10 years.

The Smart Africa alliance is an innovative commitment from African governments to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development on the continent. The alliance includes 30 African countries that represent over 700 million people.

The African Union is a continental union consisting of 55 member states located on the continent of Africa.

Read also: An Estonian ICT organisation helps Africa turn digital.

Cover: A group of African women. Photo by Christina @

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