You’re invited: find out how to join us at UmojaHack Africa 2021

In 2020, the first UmojaHack Africa drew more than 1000 students from 56 universities and 15 countries across Africa – the biggest inter-university AI hackathon ever hosted in Africa. This year we are going even bigger, hosting a virtual two-day event and hoping to see more than 100 universities join the competition. We are inviting every university in Africa to join in the hackathon on 27-28 March 2021. On the weekend, a network of hackathon events will take place virtually and physically on university campuses across Africa, all linked via livestream and the Zindi platform

Students at each university can compete individually or in teams of up to four people via the Zindi platform. Teams will be representing their universities, and will compete against other universities for more than $10 000 US in prizes for the top student teams as well as for the universities that they represent. Winners will be determined based on the Zindi leaderboard. 

About the Machine Learning Challenges

There will be three machine learning challenges of varying difficulty that speak to uniquely African challenges for students to choose to tackle. Challenges will address issues like gender, conservation, mobility, financial inclusion, and agriculture. Technical content of the challenges may include computer vision, predictive analytics, classification, natural language processing, and GIS data.

At least one challenge will be appropriate for beginners. However, students will need some experience programming in R or Python and will each need their own computer during the hackathon.

Logistics & Organisation

We rely on universities to assist in organisation and logistics on the day, and each university is encouraged to host their own event on the 27-28 March on campus (pandemic conditions allowing). The venue should have reliable internet connectivity, as we will be livestreaming the opening ceremony and prize-giving, as well as for the duration of the event. We will also use live leaderboards on to manage and rank submissions.

Universities are encouraged to reach out to sponsors to help cover costs, connectivity and local prize money at their own event – note that Zindi will not be providing prizes for local events.


The tentative programme is as follows (all times are GMT). The hackathon will be a full-day event.

  • Sat 8:00 – 8:45: Welcome and orientation (video conference across all university locations)
  • Sat 8:45 – 9:30: Technical orientation to the problems (video conference across all university locations)
  • Sat 10:00 – Sun 15:00: Students form teams and work on the challenge. Livestream from Zindi HQ continues with interviews with competitors, discussions of the challenges, and other events
  • Sun 15:00 – 15:30: Announcement of winners and prizes (video conference across all university locations)


Zindi will offer a total prize pool of $10 000 USD to the top-performing teams and universities, as well as other special prizes. If two teams from the same country place in a prize winning position, only the highest-ranked team and the university they represent will receive prizes in that country. The teams will be judged based on their ranking on the dedicated Zindi leaderboard.

To participate, register your university (note that individuals should not register) at by 13 March 2021. If you require specific support from Zindi, please register and send an inquiry to us by 28 February. Please direct any questions to Paul Kennedy