The technology giant flagged off its pan-African hackathon series recently in Lagos, Nigeria’s industrial and commercial hub with the “IBM Lagos Hackathon”, a four-day technology training and ideas incubation programme codenamed ‘The IBM “Lasgidi” Hackathon’ in reference to the moniker (Lasgidi) used by Lagos residents to describe their city.
Targeted at young technology and computing practitioners, software developers, engineering and computer science students, the IBM Lasgidi Hackathon was attended by about 90 individuals, mostly budding software scientists and students from about 10 tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Many student participants travelled from parts of Western and Eastern Nigeria to be part of this talent and capacity building programme which will also be convened by IBM in East and Southern Africa in the months ahead.
Taiwo Otiti, Country General Manager, IBM West Africa formally declared the hackathon event open by advising participants to “get hungry for technology information and always be eager to soak in as much knowledge as they can.”
“I can tell you that talent has never been more important as it is today in the technology sector,” Otiti said. “Innovation and talent are at the core of the Information Technology revolution with the potential for positive impact on individuals, communities, countries and the world.”
“This ‘IT Impact’ has been due to the evolution of organizational behavior and the growing role that organizations like IBM play in ensuring that many of society’s challenges and problems do not go unaddressed or unresolved. Promoting talent in the field of Science & Technology has therefore become a way of life at IBM,” Otiti said.
The IBM Lasgidi Hackathon will enable and encourage students to build mobile applications that run on mobile devices, compete for innovation grants, and develop new skills. The coding competition will introduce them to IBM’s latest leading technology tools and frameworks to help build smarter and faster software solutions.
[pull_quote_left]Hackathons are software programs or projects which seek to create a virtual environment where society’s problems and solutions are simulated and incubated for future development.[/pull_quote_left]IBM is reputedly one of the top corporate promoters of hackathons globally, which is part of the organization’s culture of Research & Development. The company spends over $8 billion annually on R&D, and has recently opened its 12th research laboratory in Africa, in Nairobi, Kenya.
Participants at the IBM Lasgidi hackathon focused on developing applications for Mobile Payments and Smarter Government Solutions, two key areas relevant to the development of Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy by population (150 million). And the location of this hackathon, Lagos, Africa’s most populated city (25 million, according to the United Nations) is home to 80% of Nigeria’s technology industry, according to Nigeria Computer Society (NCS).
“IBM has been helping to power transformation and technology innovation for over 100 years,” Mrs. Adeola Allison, IBM’s West Africa Leader for Developer Relations, Independent Software Vendors, Startups & Academic Initiatives said. “Focusing on mobile payments and smarter government solutions is therefore a deliberate attempt to make a positive impact and contribution to the innovation agenda of Business and Government in Nigeria.”
IBM Innovation Partners for this Lagos hackathon are the Federal Ministry of Communications Technology, the Lagos State Ministry of Science & Technology, University of Lagos, Airtel, CBC Limited, Wecyclers, Coders4Africa, CcHUB, Smart Campus, ICT Brokers, Quality Certain and other academic and non academic institutions in Nigeria.