A leading technology hub in Nigeria, Eko Innovation Centre, Friday, launched EkoClimathon 1.0, the first hackathon that will provide tech solutions in addressing climate change problems.
At the launch in Lagos, industry leaders, speakers, mentors, innovators, and participants were in attendance to discuss the modalities, issues on climate change, and how technology will serve as a catalyst for solutions.
During a presentation, Victor Afolabi, Founder, Eko Innovation Centre & Curator, Art of Technology Lagos said Ekoclimathon 1.0 is aimed at providing sustainable solutions that will address the problems of climate change with a particular focus on Agriculture, food, and waste, Circular Economy, Transportation challenge, Nature-based solutions challenge, and Energy.
According to Afolabi, Ekoclimathon 1.0 recorded 1034 entries (participants) across 11 countries, participants were grouped into various teams and expected to collaborate for a period of 3 weeks, brainstorming and ideating new concepts based on their focus areas.
Each team gets to pitch their ideas to a selection Jury of subject matter experts and the best 10 teams with the most viable concepts will go head-to-head at the finale on the 5th of August for a chance at the $7,500 prize pool and an acceleration program to get their products ready for the market.
He said the Ekoclimathon 1.0 would gather industries, corporate bodies, government agencies, policymakers, associations, agriculture sectors, and tech hubs to create an alternative fast route that can bring the world closer to the net-zero goal.
Afolabi said it’s imperative to start harnessing the creativity and talents of young people in Africa who are enthusiastic about technology in addressing the problem of climate change.
He said Nigeria is among the top 50 countries in the world that contribute to the problem of climate change due to the dependency of Nigeria on natural resources and emission of greenhouse gases.
Afolabi explained that Nigeria’s biggest employer of labor and the highest contribution to the economy is agriculture.
“We are so heavily dependent on agriculture, even forestry, and all the things that we do contributes to the impacts of climate change that we see today.”
Further, he said climate change is also influencing immigration, adding that the whole of North Central is in chaos, due to the massive immigration from other regions.
“The Lake Chad is drying up, people can no longer do fishing. Some of them are displaced. The headers don’t have where to live. In the long run, it affects the state of health.”
On technology addressing the problem of climate change, Afolabi said there are 5 areas of digital solutions that will be hacked – foundational technologies, cloud technologies, decision-making technologies, sense and control technologies (Internet of Things), and blockchain technologies.
“The increasing number of digital solutions can help us mitigate the issue of our choices “and how much more we do if we have hackathons and others contribute to this.”
Investment in climate technology has doubled from $28.4 billion to $87 billion in the last 12 months of half of 2022 and half of 2021.
According to Afolabi, there is massive investment in climate technology, and the investing communities are ready to partner with organizations, policymakers, and engineers, who are willing to be part of the climate change mitigation journey.
Speaking at the launch, Celine Lafoucriere, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria, and Generation Unlimited Lead said the initiative by Eko Innovation Centre looks extremely promising and will be monitoring the progress of the hackathon.
Celine said Generation Unlimited 9Ja is impacting Nigerian youth between the ages of 10 to 30 to become productive and engaged members of society, ensuring that they are all in some form of school, learning, training, or employment by 2030.
“Our mandate is to make sure that no one is left behind. So we’re looking at the very most vulnerable that we’re looking at the mind-blowing number of population of young people under the age of 30.”
Generation Unlimited 9Ja has a digital skill platform that will help Nigerians upskill and the goal is to impact 20 million young people by 2030.
“So simple in math, that means 2.5 million in Nigeria every year, and we’re on the road to success. We bring to you Yoma, a digital platform to access digital learning for free. This is a very exciting digital platform on which all partners, launch free offers for any kind of skill.