Africa-Focused Tech Challenge Seeks Innovative Solutions to Counter Disinformation

January 25, 2021

Disinformation and propaganda pose a threat to public trust, cohesion, and security. Foreign actors are leveraging digital tools and technologies, including social media networks, to expand their disinformation and propaganda tactics and to increase their influence within African countries. Meanwhile, terrorist and violent extremist groups propagate false narratives to gain recruits and to influence civilian populations. We need technology solutions to better understand, expose, and counter these threats. 

The U.S. – Africa Tech Challenge invites technologists from across Africa to submit an application to present their solutions against disinformation and propaganda to an audience of government, civil society, and private sector stakeholders. Up to eight organizations will be chosen to demo their technology. Up to three organizations will be selected as winners of the Challenge and will receive funding totaling $250,000 USD. 

The U.S. – Africa Tech Challenge is sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC), in partnership with U.S. Embassy Nairobi, the European Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, Twitter, Park Advisors, and East Africa Com. 

In announcing the Tech Challenge, Patricia Watts, Director of the Technology Engagement Team at the GEC, stated that these Tech Challenges are part of the GEC’s mission to “engage international partners in identifying and implementing effective tech solutions to counter propaganda and disinformation.” She also noted that the U.S. – Africa Tech Challenge will engage civil society partners in the region to ensure that the solutions put forth are directly applicable to on-the-ground civil society realities. 

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. – Africa Tech Challenge is being held as a two-part virtual event. Part I will take place virtually in April 2021 where the selected organizations will be given up to 25 minutes to present their solution to a closed audience, followed by a question and answer session from a panel of judges. Part II will take place on the margins of East Africa Com on 11-12 May 2021, where the winner(s) will be announced.

Because this Tech Challenge aims to advance the development of promising and innovative technologies against disinformation and propaganda across Africa, only submissions from companies headquartered in Africa will be considered. Interested parties are encouraged to email africatechchallenge@disinfocloud.com for details on eligibility and application instructions. The application period will close on February 28, 2021.

For more information on tools to counter disinformation or to learn more about previous tech challenges, visit us at https://disinfocloud.com, or find us on the following social media platforms:

Twitter: @DisinfoCloud

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/42120783

Astor George

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