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With mobile telephony and, to a lesser extent, the Internet developing apace, the media are having to address African consumers' switch to digital. Even though there are several overseas initiatives on this promising market, African stakeholders still do not have sufficient professionals in the field of information technologies or access to the capital they need to develop new services and content.
In this context, the Innovate Africa project aims to help a new generation of African media professionals to create and develop innovative information products and services in line with advances in technology, usage and the expectations of the continent's citizens.
Innovate Africa will also help journalists and web developers with innovative ideas to compile, process and distribute information in the era of the Internet, mobile phones, social networks, data journalism and all the new techniques that are shaking up the media ecosystem in Africa. The project is designed to enhance the quality and impact of online African journalism and to expand its audience using economic models that encourage independent work.
In a rapidly advancing environment, CFI has chosen to support social media stakeholders and also the traditional media in the switchover to digital, content creators, and developers by helping raise their professional standards and grouping them together under a federation.
Using an online training course (MOOC – Massive Open Online Course) and activities out in the field, the project's aim is to nurture and develop an ecosystem bringing together journalists and IT developers with a view to inventing tomorrow's media.
A hackathon (event bringing together developers to discuss collaborative IT programming) has been organised in 7 cities: Douala, Abidjan, Antananarivo, Casablanca, Dakar, Algiers and Tunis, in partnership with national media and co‑working hubs or new-technology incubators.
Over the course of these events, journalists and IT developers will be invited to develop an innovative service or product prototype for the information sector.
Prior to the event, an awareness-raising conference for local media general management will be organised to bring them up to speed with the innovation challenges they will face.
The digital revolution is radically transforming how information is accessed. All around the world we are witnessing an explosion of websites, blogs, and radio and television programmes online.
The first "hackathon" (media innovation marathon) under the #AfriqueInnovation programme launched by CFI and Code for Africa was a great success.
Five teams of journalists and developers took part in a friendly competition at a hackathon (media innovation marathon) in Dakar (Senegal) from 22 to 24 May 2015.
Six teams faced off during a 'media innovation marathon' held in Madagascar on 19–21 June 2015. The 38 participants were extremely driven, sometimes working day and night to create a prototype in line with their ambitions by the deadline.
Following on from those held in Abidjan, Dakar, Antananarivo and Douala, CFI and Code for Africa are organising three new 'media innovation marathons': on 2–4 October 2015 in Tunis, 9–11 October 2015 in Casablanca and 15–17 October 2015 in Algiers.
Between 2 and 17 October 2015, over thirty Tunisians, Moroccans and Algerians were pitted against one another in friendly competitions to create and develop, over the space of a weekend, innovative online information services and products.
Over a five-month period in 2015, some 2,800 people took part in the two learning segments making up the ' Innovate Africa Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)' (one for Journalists, the other for Web Developers), with a pass rate of 10%.
6 boot camps will be organised, in Johannesburg, Accra, Nairobi, Abuja, Kampala and Dar es Salaam.
Data boot camps are workshops that focus on the use of data. Web application developers will consolidate the prototype application.
An interactive online course has been set up as two learning segments – one for journalists and one for developers – lasting 5 months and validated by certificate.
The first part offers teaching and the second invites segment attendees to collaborate on joint projects.
The aim is for as many young African web professionals as possible to be able to submit an innovative project to the Innovate Africa panel by the end of the course through the support of a remote/online mentoring system.
After an initial continent-wide selection procedure, around forty project leads will take part in a fast-track training programme led by international mentors
After a final selection phase, the most promising projects will receive funding and a share in an overall pot of $1 000 000 (from $10 000 to $100 000 per project).
$1 000 000 to be won for supporting innovation in online media in Africa