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8 Finalists Announced for the US$250,000 U.S.-Africa Tech Challenge

US Africa Tech Challenge - Founder360

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8 Finalists Announced for the US$250,000 U.S.-Africa Tech Challenge

Eight finalists have been invited to participate in the U.S.-Africa Tech Challenge, where they will present their solutions to the problem of #disinformation and #propaganda for a chance to win up to US$250,000.

The U.S.-Africa Tech Challenge aims to advance the development of promising technologies that offer innovative solutions to help expose, understand, and counter propaganda and disinformation across Africa.

It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Global Engagement Center (GEC), in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the European Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, Twitter, Ushahidi, Park Advisors and Disinfo Cloud, and Informa.

Following a public call-for-submissions at the beginning of 2021, eight finalists have been invited to participate in the U.S.-Africa Tech Challenge where they will present their solutions to the problem of disinformation and propaganda.

The organizations are based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda. The solutions address various types of disinformation, including health-, political-, and economic-related disinformation, and vary in their approach to the problem.

Read: Kenya’s Ajua Acquires Intelligent Messaging Platform WayaWaya For an Undisclosed Sum

Some tools help users identify and track disinformation and malicious actors while others offer a way to counter or mitigate the effect of disinformation at the local or national level.

These eight finalists and their solutions are:

  • Code for Africa/CivicSignal’s MediaCloud (Nigeria): Provides real-time topic tracking and media analysis to better understand how propaganda and disinformation affect mainstream media coverage.
  • Outbox’s Project Toxsint (Uganda): Surfaces suspicious disinformation clusters during tense political events like elections and can generate reports and trend graphs around these clusters for further analyses.
  • GhanaFact and FakeNetAI (Ghana): Offers an AI-powered solution to identify synthetic media and disinformation to help increase efficiency and accuracy of fact-checking.
  • Code for Africa/CivicSignal/DyDx’s TrustList (South Africa): Identifies vulnerabilities in the media and helps advertisers and other stakeholders direct their investments away from sites peddling disinformation.
  • Congo Check (the Democratic Republic of the Congo): Identifies mis/disinformation, focusing primarily on health-related issues, and uses fact-checking infrastructure to send verified information to registered users for free via SMS messages.
  • Hudibia (Nigeria): Provides free access to health information validated by expert practitioners, including through audio translations into local languages to help facilitate equal access in communities.
  • AIfluence (Kenya): Uses NLP to research audiences and identify trusted micro-influencers to conduct behavioural change campaigns, taking into consideration the cultural, ethnic, demographic, and linguistic diversity of the continent.
  • Sea Monster’s Lighthouse (South Africa): Offers digital solutions, including animation, games, and quizzes that can play a critical role in cutting through the noise to disseminate accurate information around topics like COVID-19 and vaccines.

These finalists will present their solutions to an invite-only, closed audience on April 28-29, 2021 and up to three winners will be selected to split an award of US$250,000.

The winner(s) will be announced on May 11, 2021, during a special showcase at East Africa Com, one of the premier events for digital communications.

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