Social media giant Facebook is challenging developers across the Middle East and Africa to create innovative bots in the Bots for Messenger Developer Challenge. This aligns with Facebook’s commitment to promote innovation in the Middle East and Africa by providing developers and start-ups with the tools they need to build, grow, monetize, and measure products and services.

Facebook grew out of a hacker culture and thrives by promoting innovation on new platforms. That’s why Facebook is launching the Bots for Messenger Challenge, a contest to recognize and reward developers who are able to create the most innovative new bots on Messenger.

Developers, in teams of up to three people, are invited to create bots in three categories: gaming and entertainment; productivity and utility; and social good.

Prizes

Finalist Teams
The 60 finalist teams (10 per category in each region) will win a Gear VR and mobile phone, one hour of Facebook mentorship and tools and services from FbStart, a Facebook program designed to help early stage mobile start-ups build and grow their bots.
All student teams who make it to the finals will win an additional $2,000 (students will be verified against their registration via their government accredited school email accounts). 

Runner-Up Teams
For each region, three runner-up teams (one from each category) will win $10,000 and three months of Facebook mentorship.

Winning Teams
For each region, three winning teams (one from each category) will win $20,000 and three months of Facebook mentorship.

Dates

  • Submissions open: 15 February at 09:00 GMT
  • Deadline for entries: 28 April at 11:59:59 GMT
  • Finalists announced (30 teams each in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East/North Africa): 19 May at 09:00 GMT
  • Deadline for entries from finalists: 2 June at 11:59:59 GMT
  • Winners announced: 19 June at 09:00 GMT (three winners and three runner up teams in the Middle East and North Africa; three winners and three runner up teams in Sub-Saharan Africa)
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Paul Adepoju
Paul ADEPOJU is a Nigerian freelance journalist, managing editor, blogger and published writer (3 books already). He has vast experience working with various media organizations in Africa, Asia, Europe and America. He covers stories on various genres and for various audiences. He is the managing editor of HealthNewsNG.com which is Africa's leading health news website; he also manages IBPulse.com, a city blog that focuses on happenings in his home town of Ibadan, southwest Nigeria. He has won several awards including Nigeria's Vanguard Newspaper's Young Nigerian Making The Difference award; a certificate of recognition from UNESCO and Goi Peace Institute in Japan; a finalist at the International Press Institute's Young Nigerian Journalist of the Year award; and was the only African finalist in the NetImpact/FedEx Global Access Essay Competition.