Insight 2 Insight facility & BongoHive launch the Data Innovation Competition to advance financial inclusion in Zambia.

South Africa based Insight 2 Insight facility and Lusaka’s technology and innovation hub, BongoHive today launched a data innovation competition to advance financial inclusion in Zambia.

In partnership with Financial sector deepening Zambia and the Insurers association of Zambia, the data innovation competition was launched today and will also a host a hackathon, co creation weekend to train and guide all competitors, expose them to data and problem statements around financial inclusion and access to insurance in Zambia. The participants are to showcase their skills and build innovations or solve problems relating to financial inclusion in Zambia. The participants of the competition will use the co-creation weekend to understand the problems the sector faces and get feedback and guidance on their data driven ideas and solutions.

Speaking at the launch this morning at Lusaka’s Radisson Blu Hotel, Insight to Insight Lead Celina Lee, said the competition’s goal is to solve problems in finance using data. “With the DataHack4FI competition, we aim to empower data enthusiasts with the skills to help the financial services sector improve its offering to underserved segments of the Zambian population. This is an aim that we are proud to share with our partners for the competition FSDZ, BongoHive and the Insurance Association of Zambia.”

i2i Applications Lab Head, Nkosi Ncube noted that, “In addition to skills, the competition forges new connections between financial service providers, fintechs and data specialists. We believe that these skills and connections – mixed in the right way – can result in innovative solutions to real-world challenges. We have already seen glimpses of this in the other DataHack4FI countries and look forward to seeing what Zambia holds! The winning team from this competition will fly the flag for Zambia at the regional finals in May.”

Also speaking at the launch Financial sector deepening Zambia CEO, Betty Wilkinson added, “In 2015, we undertook a survey with the Bank of Zambia and FinMark Trust called Finscope. Without this data, we would not know that 40% of the Zambian population have no access to any financial services, and that one of the biggest barriers is understanding what services exist. ”

Co-founder and Executive Director of BongoHive, Lukonga Lindunda iterated how BongoHive is always open to help people with ideas and how these ideas can help advance sectors such as finance and insurance in Zambia. “There is a need for more collaboration between innovators, subject matter experts, entrepreneur, public and private sector. This competition is a great opportunity to try these collaborations and create products and solutions that can truly change the lives of Zambians.”

The hackathon and co-creation weekend starts today, Friday 24th March and goes up to Sunday 26th March 2017 when top 10 finalists will be shortlisted for round 2 of the competition. The winners of the competition will undergo an accelerator programme for 4 weeks to help advance their solution and will have a chance to attend the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda later this year.