AIMS Data Science Hackathon by Microsoft
$2,000 USD
Work towards a Microsoft certificate and win cash prizes with the start of the challenge in January 2021
174 data scientists enrolled, 123 on the leaderboard
25 January—5 April
71 days

This is a private hackathon for currently enrolled AIMS and CMU Africa students only. If you are an AIMS or CMU Africa student, reach out to your professors or student leaders for the secret code.

CMU Africa: Kwadwo Agyapon-Ntra - kagyapon(at) or Yonah Byarugaba - ybyaruga(at)

AIMS Ghana: Francis Oduro - francis(at)

AIMS Cameroon: Berthine Nyunga Mpinda - bmpinda(at)

AIMS South Africa: Samuel Ofosu Mensah - samuelmensah(at)

AIMS Senegal: Franck Kalala Mutombo - franckm(at)

AIMS Rwanda: Blaise Tchapnda blaise.tchapnda(at)

About the Problem

Granular information on economic well being is extremely useful for governments and policy makers. But household surveys that capture this kind of information are expensive and conducted infrequently in many African countries. For this competition we will attempt to create a workaround for this lack of data by building a model able to predict a measure of wealth as measured in household surveys using readily available inputs.

Using data from 18 different countries collected at different times, you must correctly predict the cluster-level estimated wealth measures found from surveys in 7 different countries not covered in the training data. A successful model could be useful for filling in the gaps between the more expensive surveys.

About AIMS Data Science Hackathon

The AIMS Data Science Hackathon will run from 25 January to 28 February 2021, however students can register here at any time. Students from AIMS campuses across the continent are invited to come together on the virtual Zindi platform to develop machine learning and AI solutions to solve a real-world problem.

We strongly recommend that AIMS students prepare over the break (December to January) by completing the LinkedIn/Microsoft Data Analyst course, which will get you familiar with basic data analysis and exploration. Microsoft will offer the top 100 students in the hackathon vouchers to take the exam to become a certified Microsoft Data Analyst Associate.

So get your secret code from your university and sign-up today. Check out the LinkedIn Learning Data Analyst course here to sharpen your data skills over the holidays. The data will be posted and the competition will go live on 25 January 2021!

About the AIMS Data Science Hackathon

The AIMS Data Science Hackathon is a completely virtual hackathon. Students can work in teams of up to four people. The problem, dataset, discussion forum, and leaderboard will be open and available on the Zindi platform for the duration of the hackathon and students are welcome to work on the problem at their own pace.

Students will be challenged to build a machine learning model to solve a real world problem that affects Africa. The challenge will be accessible to beginners, but students will need some experience programming in R or Python.

How to prepare for AIMS Data Science Hackathon

  1. Add your university to your profile. Watch this YouTube video.
  2. Practice on a challenge such as Financial Inclusion in Africa and make your first Zindi submission. Watch this YouTube video.
  3. Make a team in preparation for UmojaHack. Watch this YouTube video.
  4. Complete the LinkedIn/Microsoft Data Analyst course to get familiar with basic data analysis and exploration.

About AIMS (

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is Africa’s first network of centres of excellence in mathematical sciences. We enable the continent’s youth to shape the continent’s future through Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education- training Africa’s next generation of leaders.

About Microsoft (

This hackathon is sponsored by Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft). Microsoft enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Microsoft has operated in Africa for more than 25 years. In that time they have built strong partnerships across the continent, helped bridge gaps in infrastructure, connectivity and capability, and are working to empower countries in Africa to digitally transform while creating sustained societal impact. Earlier this year, Microsoft opened Africa’s first hyper-scale data centers in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. Most recently, the company also announced the opening of two Africa Development Centers in Nairobi and Lagos, where world-class African talent can create innovative solutions for local and global impact.