By Julius Bizimungu
More African countries that are members of the Smart Africa Secretariat are now able to participate in the continental Miss Geek Africa competition, following its expansion.
The number of participating countries has moved from 17, that participated during the inaugural continental competition last year, to 22.
Already, the application process is open and all girls based in the qualified countries can apply.
The main goal is ultimately to support and inspire more African girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines, organisers say. The competition is organised by Girls in ICT Rwanda, a group of women professionals in STEM.
According to the organisers, the application process is underway until March 31.
Lucy Mbabazi, one of the lead organisers of the annual competition and president of Girls in ICT Rwanda, said they are targeting to have the entire continent participate in the competition as this would help achieve their target.
“We definitely wish it [the competition] expands to all the 54 African countries, and yes, it will, if we get more support,” she said.
Last year, Girls in ICT Rwanda partnered with Smart Africa to expand the competition to all member states and crowned the first ever Ms. Geek Africa, Ruth Njeri from Kenya, during the annual Transform Africa Summit.
The experience provides semi-finalists the opportunity to compete and collaborate with peers as well as participate in the summit, where they interact with industry captains and government leaders, as they determine how to accelerate Africa’s transformation using technology.
This year, organisers are celebrating the 5th anniversary of Miss Geek competition.
“What started as a small idea in Rwanda is now a part of the Smart Africa agenda,” mbabazi noted.
The grand finale will be held at the Transform Africa Summit which will take place on May 9-10 in Kigali. This year’s competition was organised in line with Transform Africa Summit’s theme; “Accelerating Africa’s Single Digital Market.”
Applicants will identify opportunities in any sector and suggest a solution that can allow Africans to collaborate, interact and especially trade easily as a single digital market. They will also propose and recommend technology solutions that can work to address the existing problems and challenges.
The competition is exclusively open to females between the ages of 13 and 21 years, who are also citizens of any of Smart Africa member states; namely; Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, DRC, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Togo, Tunisia and Uganda
Finalists will undergo a weeklong intensive training programme that will equip them with presentation, public speaking and critical thinking skills to ensure they are prepared for the grand finale.