Zindi – Leveraging Machine Learning & AI for collective innovation in Africa

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Zindi – Leveraging Machine Learning & AI for collective innovation in Africa

Zindi is a social-enterprise start-up whose mission is to build the largest data science ecosystem in Africa. Our vision at Zindi is to unleash the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning on the region’s most pressing problems, and we do this by convening a growing community of over 4,000 data scientists around Africa’s toughest business and social challenges. Zindi is excited to celebrate its 1-year anniversary at this AI Expo Africa 2019.

Growing need for enhanced data maturity. African organisations are generating massive amounts of data, but they are unsure about how to leverage it for organisational impact. Due to this uncertainty, they either stall and do nothing or expend significant resources bringing in “experts” from outside of Africa to help. But this misses a huge opportunity to draw on local talent. African data scientists represent an untapped wealth of resources, possessing exceptional technical capabilities in addition to a deeper understanding of the context, the market, and ultimately what the solution needs to look like. These pools of data scientists are filled with talented engineers and scientists trying to get more experience in data science, looking for opportunities to solve problems relevant to their own markets, and if you are still relatively new to the field you are also struggling to just get a foot in the door.

Figure 1. Zindi data science ecosystem

Bridging the divide between solution-seekers and problem-solvers. Zindi is an online platform that hosts competitions and a community of mostly African data scientists that apply machine learning and AI techniques to solve Africa’s toughest challenges. We provide an inexpensive and frictionless ecosystem for matching proven analytics and data science resources to existing needs. Zindi works with organisations to develop, curate, and prepare data-driven competitions, to solve their specific problems and attract the best data science talent in Africa. The platform also offers experienced and budding data scientists (the solution providers) the opportunity to build their professional profiles and skills, access job opportunities and cash prizes, and connect with their peers throughout the region.

Increasing appetite for crowd-sourced machine learning solutions. The Zindi platform continues to grow from strength to strength. Since launching in September 2018 at AI Expo Africa, Zindi has developed and curated 14 competitions and awarded $30,000 USD in prizes. The competitions represent diverse uses-cases and span several African countries, and they would not have been possible without the competition hosts and strategic partners that Zindi has collaborated with since launching. Some examples of competitions include:

  • Demand prediction: Uber, Mobiticket, and insight2impact facility challenged data scientists to predict demand for public transportation into Nairobi, Kenya. $12,000 USD were awarded in prizes.
  • Crop classification: FarmPin, Liquid Telecom, and Cortex Logic are sourcing solutions that identify the type of crops growing on different fields using satellite imagery data. Prizes up to $10,000 USD are up for grabs.
  • Art generation: AI Media and Cortex Ventures challenged data scientists to use AI to create an original piece of artwork and music. Prizes to the value of $3,000 will be awarded, in addition to the artwork being auctioned off during AI Expo.
  • Soil humidity prediction: Wazihub and Microsoft have collaborated on a challenge seeking predictions of soil humidity using sensor data from low-cost DIY Internet of Things to assist farmers in Senegal to manage their water usage efficiently. Prizes to the value of $8,000 are up for grabs.

Figure 2. Summary map of Zindi users – Source: Google Analytics, 31 July 2019

 Empowering communities of data scientists across Africa. Although it’s only been nine months since the first competition kicked off, we already have over 4,000 registered data scientists from Africa and beyond. Insights from Google Analytics reveal that Zindi has reached at least one user in nearly every country in the world, with the highest number of users from South Africa (4,508 unique users), followed by Kenya (4,193) and Nigeria (3,389). In addition to the growth of the platform, Zindi has collaborated with Zindi Ambassadors in six African countries (Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Tunisia, Tanzania, Senegal) who are data science and AI specialists. The Ambassadors are leaders in their local data communities and organise regular meetups and events that support young, local, data talent.

Don’t wait too long to take advantage of machine learning and AI. Organizations that are interested in hosting a competition can contact Zindi for a free consultation. Data scientists can enter competitions on the Zindi platform by registering at www.zindi.africa. For more information, contact zindi@zindi.africa.

About AI Expo Africa 2019

Curated by AI Media Africa, AI Expo Africa 2019 is focusing on real world applications & trends driving the Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Data Science Economy in Africa.  AI Expo Africa is the largest Business focused AI Community conference and expo on the continent.  With 700+ delegates, 60+ speaker programme, 40+ exhibitor Expo Hall, allied to the unique Innovation Cafe showcasing the latest AI start-ups in the region, we deliver a truly integrated event experience.  Our speaking programme and workshops are aimed at CxOs, analysts and investors with the primary goal of educating business leaders about AI & Data Science applications solving Enterprise challenges TODAY as well as generating real business and learning opportunities for sponsors, speakers, buyers, suppliers & innovators alike.  We also have FREE student / young engineer workshops to foster grass roots job creation & skills development opportunities.  If you would like to join the event as a delegate or would like take up one of the exhibition, Innovation Cafe or speaking opportunities simply visit click on the links below. Learn more at www.aimediagroup.co.za

  • Register – Buy your ticket today via our secure ticket platform Quicket
  • Sponsor – Secure pride of place in the Expo Hall / Innovation Cafe
  • Speak – Submit a paper and join the prestigious speaking programme

For event information, please contact Sonja Arendse (Events Support Manager) at enquiries@aiexpoafrica.com.

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By | 2019-08-17T13:14:46+00:00 August 17th, 2019|News, Sponsor Spotlight, Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Nick is Co-founder of AI Media Africa, home of AI Expo Africa 2018. He has 20+ years experience in the technology sector working at the interface of client, vendor, partner & investor to provide organizations with enhanced technology based solutions with high ROI.

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