Lagos to host the first ever United Nation's SDG Hackathon in March

February 16, 2017
3 min read

In September 2015, the 193 member-countries of the United Nations (UN), adopted a 15-year plan to end global challenges such as poverty, insecurity, and inequality and also to ensure prosperity for all by 2030. The UN came up with 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) that would provide an outline for the world’s development within the next 15 years.

The UN SDGs action campaign teamed up with UK-based charity Influx Trust to host a 3-day global hackathon in 9 cities around the world simultaneously on the 10th to 12th of March, 2017. This 9-city global hackathon will be based on 3 of the 17 SDG. SDG 9, which addresses solutions around industry, innovation, and infrastructure; the SDG 10 which focuses on reduced inequality and the SDG 12 which confronts challenges of responsible consumption and production.

Lagos will hack around SDG 9. Therefore, hackers would be required to proffer solutions in the areas of industry, innovation, and infrastructure. According to the communications team, Lagos of all African cities was chosen by the UN to host the hackathon as the city has always been in the limelight with regards to innovation and startups.

Lagos has attracted several foreign investors including global tech giants like Mark Zuckerberg. The performance of Nigerian startups in the global scene has shown that the country produces well-educated founders who have what it takes to develop scalable solutions.


Why SDG 9- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure?

Infrastructure development is one of the major elements of structural reforms in any developing economy like Nigeria because of its expected large economic and social impact.

Economic growth has been linked to the development of basic infrastructures such as road, housing, telecommunications service and power. Nigeria, as well as other African countries currently face serious infrastructural challenges which affect every industry so it has become imperative that the UN hosts an hackathon in Africa.

Affordable housing is a significant challenge for urban areas with large populations, and this is particularly prevalent in the city of Lagos. Lagos is one of the most expensive cities to live in owing to the city's high cost of housing and basic goods and services.

A 2-bedroom flat in Lagos goes for as high as N2 million ($3,906) per annum or even higher depending on the area. Asides the fixed rent, additional fees such as agency and maintenance fees are usually charged by property owners/agents. In 2016, Lagos was ranked the 12th most expensive city in the world to launch a startup. While this research may be inaccurate, the cost of housing undoubtedly puts a lot of strain on startups who have to pay through their noses to rent office spaces.

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Power experts have revealed that Nigeria needs 160000 megawatts of electricity to ensure uninterrupted power supply across the country. Sadly, power generation in the country is nowhere near this number, instead,  it keeps fluctuating.

The result of a survey taken by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) revealed that 40 million Nigerians in 200 communities do not have access to telecommunications services.

These challenges are currently impeding the development of entrepreneurship and if Nigeria aims to achieve her "made-in-Nigeria" goals, infrastructure issues have to be addressed. The UN team recognizes that young innovators have the flexibility and talent to proffer solutions to these problems.

The Lagos UN hackathon is facilitated by Passion Incubator and will be hosted by Sidmach Technologies Nigeria Limited, with sponsors such as Ford Foundation, Microsoft, Printivo and Starta.

The event will be held at the Sidmach building, Ikeja, Lagos between 8 AM and 9 PM daily. Ten ideas will be selected to participate in the Lagos UN hackathon and the top 3 winners will emerge.

These winners will be given resources and support by the UN to improve, test and scale their ideas and ultimately become real businesses.  They would be placed on the Influx Trust crowdfunding page to attract suitable investors, mentors and human resources and will also have a chance to demo at the UN headquarters, New York city in June 2017.

This is an opportunity for everyone who has a knack for problem-solving and is looking to put this to good use. Applications are open until 3rd March 2017.

Register here.

Venue:  Sidmach Technologies Nigeria Limited, Alausa, Ikeja.

Date: 10th to 12th of March, 2017

Time: 8 AM to 9 PM (Day one starts by 4 PM)

This post is published as part of's Corporate Social Responsibility.

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