AI4D Swahili News Classification Challenge
$250 USD
Can you create a classification algorithm to identify Swahili news articles by category?
77 data scientists enrolled, 54 on the leaderboard
East Africa
26 February—28 February
56 hours

This is a private hackathon open to participants from East Africa Countries (Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Rwanda). If you are a citizen of the selected countries and would like to participate, contact the Zindi Ambassador from your country to get the secret code or apply here

Tanzania: Davis David

Uganda: Mark Okello

Kenya: Rose Gesicho

Malawi: Sam Masikini

Rwanda: Juste Nyirimana

Kiswahili is a lingua franca spoken by 100-150 million people across East Africa. It is an official language in the DRC, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda; in Tanzania it is a first language for most people and the official language of instruction in all schools, while in other countries it is a common second language. News in Kiswahili is an important part of the media sphere in East Africa.

News contributes to education, technology, and economic growth of a country, and news in local languages plays an important cultural role in many Africa countries. In the modern age, African languages in news and other spheres are at risk of being lost as English becomes the dominant language in online spaces.

The objective of this hackathon is to develop a multi-class classification model to classify news content according to six specific categories.The model can be used by Swahili online platforms to automatically group news according to their categories and help readers find the specific news they want to read. In addition, the model will contribute to a body of work ensuring that Swahili is represented in apps and other online products in future.

About AI4D-Africa; Artificial Intelligence for Development-Africa Network (

AI4D-Africa is a network of excellence in AI in sub-Saharan Africa. It is aimed at strengthening and developing community, scientific and technological excellence in a range of AI-related areas. It is composed of African Artificial Intelligence researchers, practitioners and policymakers.