Three months ago IBM launched a photo competition with the intent of learning more about the continent of Africa. The company realized that in order to innovate the continent they had to hear from the people who lived there. Anyone with a camera device was invited to contribute images that highlighted the continent’s grand challenges, city systems and examples of innovation. After receiving 1,200 submissions they chose one winner in the categories of challenges, city systems, and examples of innovation. The judges were impressed and surprised by the submissions because it opened their eyes to an Africa that the average person does not know exists
The importance of technology has been neglected by the continent of Africa for many years and IBM hopes to shed light on the importance of innovations.
Kenyan TV producer Frank Odwesso won in the City System category. This image featured a woman on the back of a “boda boda” or a bicycle taxi. The judges felt that the image illustrated an unreliable public transportation system.
Imole “Tobbie” Balogun won the Grand Challenges category with his image illustrating the harsh realities of babysitting. This image featured a young female child baby sitting two small children.
Lawrence “Shabu” Mwangi won the innovation category. The winning image in this category highlighted children playing with scrap in Nairobi’s Mukuru slum.
The photo competition is a part of IBM’s $100 million Project Lucy campaign which will employ cognitive computing technologies to advance development such as award winning Watson. The initiative will create business opportunities in Africa within the next 10 years. Photography has become a voice for Africa and photography has only captured some of the stories IBM hopes to provide the continent with the opportunity to capture more.