Kenyan innovators will benefit from an Sh6 billion program launched by global technology firm Meta aimed at enhancing the continent’s capacity in innovative technologies.
The two-year program – augmented and virtual reality (XR/VR) Africa Metathon – seeks to build a community and continue to support the African extended reality (XR) ecosystem.
This is through training, capacity-building initiatives, and the provision of resources needed to build innovative solutions for the continent covering 16 African countries.
Consequently, Meta has called for applications from African XR talents including developers, programmers, UI/UX designers, artists, animators, storytellers, professionals, and students.
The firm is partnering with Imisi 3D, an extended reality ecosystem developer, and BlackRhino VR, a Kenyan-based virtual reality production company located in Nairobi.
Mr Phil Oduor, Policy Programmes Lead for Africa at Meta, said the AR/VR Metatron will feature three major components including a training program and an Africa-wide hackathon which will take place across 16 countries in Africa physically and virtually.
At the end of the Metathon, he explains, participants who would have benefitted from XR training, will develop pertinent use cases for XR in Africa (in line with the theme and selected verticals), engage in competition; and for the winning teams go on to build MVPs, attend a boot camp to support further development, and attend a global XR event.
These components will run from mid-August to April 2023 and aim to build innovative solutions that demonstrate various use cases of a metaverse in the continent.
“This is an opportunity to demonstrate how artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality technologies, which have been around for decades, are core to the future of the metaverse and what Africans are building in the industry,” said Mr. Oduor.
“We also aim to support African XR talent to build innovative solutions that could demonstrate the various aspects and use cases of the metaverse in Africa,” he added.
Mr Oduor explained that a major challenge the XR ecosystem in Africa is faced with is lack of access to funding, infrastructure, and relevant opportunities to build capacity.
For her part, Ms Judith Okonkwo, founder of Imisi 3D & AR/VR Africa, said the program aims to increase access to XR resources on the continent, accelerate XR talent, showcase African XR solutions as well as create pathways for careers and the industry.