EU: Africa The Journey brought together 2000 participants from 110 countries to hack the biggest socio-economic issues

Last weekend, on the 9-12 December the second edition of the EU: Africa The Journey conference and hackathon took place. In total, 2000 participants from 110 countries took part in the hackathon and over 250 teams were formed. In addition, we had 44 speakers from 18 countries join us at the Data for Development conference.

EU: Africa The Journey started as an initiative of the Estonian Ministry of foreign affairs in 2020 to focus on socio-economic challenges made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. By this year’s edition, it has grown to a truly worldwide initiative that brings together and empowers communities globally.

“When we were devising the first year's hackathon, we were thinking about the name. What to call it? We went for the word journey to show it's not just one event, but we really look at it as a long-term process so year by year we can bring the talented youth from both continents together so we could jointly tackle these challenges. Our goals are the same wherever we are and there’s still lots to do.”

Tanel Sepp

Estonian chargé d’affaires in Ethiopia

EU: Africa The Journey co-organizer

Both the hackathon and the conference tackled 11 pressing socio-economic issues. These were in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Africa 2063 agenda:

⎮ Education ⎮ Food security ⎮ Job Security ⎮ Vulnerable Populations ⎮ Health & Wellness ⎮ Financial Services ⎮ Big Data ⎮ Cyber Security ⎮ Digital Economy ⎮ e-Governance⎮ Smart Cities ⎮

Participants from all over the world took part. All the purple countries were represented in the hackathon. 

#euafricathejourney conference

The Data for Development conference took place at the same time as the hackathon. Over the weekend, 11 panel discussions took place. Each session tackled one of the topic areas mentioned above. These were streamed live on Facebook and YouTube. Over 14 hours of content is available to rewatch.

Read some of the most memorable quotes:

“The discussions we had over the course of three days supported the hackathon teams in their problem solving. The talks outlined the challenges, best experiences and potential when it comes to implementing technological solutions as a means of solving socio-economic challenges in Africa. We believe that future conferences should be free and available for everyone to take part in. This will spark new ideas for solving the various challenges we’re facing.”  

Kadri Kõivik

Data for Development Conference Project Lead

COO of Garage48

#euafricathejourney hackathon

The aim of the EU: Africa The Journey hackathon is to bring together socially conscious problem solvers from across Europe and Africa. There’s a lot to learn from one another. Different world views and experiences give teams a unique advantage to effectively solve challenges in the given topic areas.

“​​The people are the true value of the hackathon as they will be shaping our future. It is our duty to offer them room to thrive.”

Andres Sutt

Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology of the Republic of Estonia

Team Kelem AI's final demo.

Over 500 ideas were submitted to the hackathon which really shows how much work there is to do and how motivated people are to solve these challenges. Ultimately, 200 teams were selected to take part in the 72h hackathon and by the end of the weekend, a TOP20 was announced.

*We had the pleasure to work with high quality, innovative ideas. Behind the ideas were great people. They were dedicated and hardworking. They easily overcome challenges like power shortages or poor internet connectivity. One of the teams even worked in a refugee camp in Uganda! It was amazing to witness how determined they all were to make the most of the 72 hour hackathon.”

Anna Torz

EU: Africa The Journey Hackathon Project Lead

To encourage further development of the TOP20 teams, we divided a 50,000€ prize pool between them and invited them to a post-hackathon acceleration program.  

"The hackathon is fun and all, but it’s only the beginning of a long and winding journey.

To prepare the teams better for real life and make them more resilient and more likely to succeed, we have put together a comprehensive three-month-long acceleration program, after which teams should be ready to bring their product/service to the market. The acceleration program continues to follow the same #euafricathejourney community centric approach- it’s being funded by several different parties both in Europe and Africa and the mentors come from the startup sector of both regions as well."

Mari Hanikat
#euafricathejourney Project Lead

CEO of Garage48

#euafricathejourney winners

Meet all of the winners of the EU: Africa The Journey hackathon! If you want to learn more, all of their final demos are linked under their team name. 


Crediometer is a full-stack payment solution for growing business owners to make and accept payments both in-person and online. Their solutions are driving financial inclusion to the last mile by providing access to better methods of receiving payment, business accounts for SMEs and credits.

Crediometer (on the screen) was announced as the overall winner of the hackathon.


The SmartClean project is a technological solution that offers a self-cleaning door handle, eliminating the transfer of infections and bacteria. Disinfection takes place immediately after each direct contact with the handle.

Smart Clean (on the screen) was announced as the overall second place winners of the hackathon. 


Ngao will be Africa's first mobile-based social gaming platform that bridges the gap between African professional eSports players, gaming enthusiasts/fans and potential investors. Ngao will provide a platform for gamers to form teams, access tournaments and be visible to sponsors and investors through leaderboards and social media stats.

Ngao (on the screen) was announced as the overall third place winners of the hackathon.

4th to 10th places in no particular order:

Tractive engine 🇸🇮🇳🇬🇹🇳 – an economic sharing platform that connects fleets owners to farmers looking for farm machinery such as tractors.

Bdaya Development 🇪🇬 – a ProEye project tracking system based on microservices architecture for Managers of Engineering Consultancy Centres & Construction Companies who need help managing their Institutions.

TwigaByte 🇹🇿 – a platform that delivers relevant access to prenatal and postnatal information and caregiving services to a community of mothers.

AgraCrashers 🇲🇦 – eco-friendly cosmetic products that valorize the waste of the Argan oil industry by using Argan Press Cake as raw material.

Aspirestack 🇲🇦🇪🇬🇫🇷 – an app that connects people who need blood to others who can give it.

Microadvisory for Africa 🇦🇹🇮🇸🇿🇲 – a B2B marketplace for business advisory services for SMEs, startups and corporates, made accessible and affordable through the microadvisory approach.

Kelem AI 🇪🇹 – an app that teaches children to read and write through games and AR technology.

Mentors and teams applauding winners via Zoom.

Category winners

Get Em Online 🇳🇬 (Smart Cities and e-Governance) – a signal booster that can pull even a weak network signal from a network mast up to 1km away, a router that picks the boosted signal and transmits it through a series of strategically placed WiFi access points.

Community Creativity for Development 🇺🇬(Job Security and Financial Services) – a one-stop solar powered and Internet connected Multipurpose Community Technology Centre (MCTC) in Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement as a suitable mechanism for mobilization, training, job linkages, digital financial transactions, Psychosocial Support (PSS) and social cohesion related activities. 

Elite Team 🇷🇼🇺🇬 (Favourite of the Audience) – a mobile app that connects NGOs, individual people, industries and food owners to rescue wasted food. 

Three teams from the TOP10 were also awarded as category winners. They were:

ArgaCrashers 🇲🇦 (Vulnerable Populations)

Kelam AI 🇪🇹 (Education)

Tractive Engine 🇸🇮🇳🇬🇹🇳 (Food security winner)

In addition, a special prize was given out for collaboration between EU and Africa. This went out to team Microadvisory for Africa 🇦🇹🇮🇸🇿🇲 with members from Zambia, Austria, Norway.

#euafricathejourney next steps

This wraps up this year’s edition of EU: Africa The Journey and the Garage48 season. The TOP20 teams will continue their journey in the new year with a post-hackathon acceleration program and we’ve already started planning activities for #euafricathejourney22.

For the most up to date information about the next events, follow us on:

Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter

Rewatch all the live streams of the hackathon and conference on Facebook or YouTube.

A huge thank you to everyone involved in the event. We couldn’t do it without our co-organizers, organizing crew, project managers, mentors, volunteers or participants. Until next year!

About the author

jana saastamoinen

Jana is the Marketing Manager at Garage48 with years of experience in event and digital marketing. ☀️

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