World Bank Hosts Hackathons for Poverty

Africa has undergone a 1000% increase in the use of mobile users from 2002 to today. This unprecedented technological transformation Africa has gone through in the past ten years has made it the leading continent in the world in mobile banking technology. Just as technology has helped pull Africa into the economic forefront, the World Bank ultimately seeks to eliminate global poverty by using innovative technological solutions that will assist in its mission to see to it that no more than 3% of the world’s population will be living in extreme global poverty by 2030.

Chris Vein, former Deputy Chief Technology Officer with the Obama administration and now the World Bank’s Chief Innovative Officer, was a keynote speaker at this year’s CIO Summit held earlier this month in New Zealand and, during an interview, conveyed how groundbreaking technological advances in places like sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions are extremely important in order to eliminate global poverty.

For over a year and a half, the World Bank has instituted the use of Hackathons to help break the same cycle of thinking in areas like water and sanitation, and come up with solutions that will assist developing countries and their citizens in making informed, economically sound decisions that will have positive returns. Techopedia defines a Hackathon as an event where computer programmers and software developers collaboratively code in an extreme manner over a period usually lasting no longer than a week.

According to Vein, the use of Hackathons at the World Bank allows for greater participation through technology and provides exposure to many more options and solutions.  The focus of these Hackathons is to create economic value through the use of technology to drive better outcomes. Vein contends that the government must work with the public in understanding the data derived from these Hackathons in order to exploit that information and come up with viable solutions that have economic value.

Vein understands that equipping individuals with the technological means to gain awareness drives better decision-making and, as the World Bank’s CIO, he will continue to incorporate Hackathons as a sustainable method of producing viable software and other technological solutions in order to create the type of ecosystem we all desire and to eliminate global poverty.

– Taheera S. Randolph

Source: Interest, Techopedia, World Bank
Photo: W3C