Meta opens applications for African metaverse competition

Meta said it has opened applications for the AR/VR Africa Metathon in partnership with Imisi 3D and BlackRhino VR.

According to the firm, the AR/VR Africa Metathon is a series of programmes and activations under its global XR fund aimed at supporting XR talents on the continent to build innovative solutions that demonstrate various use cases of the metaverse.

It added that the metathon would feature three major components including a training programme, an Africa-wide hackathon that would take place across 16 countries in Africa physically and open to everyone virtually, followed by an intensive bootcamp to further develop solutions.

In a statement, the Policy Programs Lead for Africa at Meta, Phil Oduor, said, “The AR/VR Africa Metathon is an opportunity to demonstrate how artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality technologies that have been around for decades, are core to the future of the metaverse and what Africans are building in the industry.

“The XR Programs and Research Fund is a two-year $50m investment into programmes and external research focused on building the metaverse responsibly. Through this fund, we are collaborating with industry partners, civil rights groups, governments, nonprofits and academic institutions to determine how to build these technologies responsibly.

“This is why we have partnered with Imisi 3D and BlackRhino VR, an extended reality ecosystem developer  and a virtual reality production company, who represent Africa’s creative and innovative landscape, to launch this programme to support African XR talent who are building innovative solutions that demonstrate the various aspects of the metaverse in Africa.”

The Founder, Imisi 3D & AR/VR Africa, Judith Okonkwo, stated, “Six years after our first hackathon, and following subsequent events in over 28 countries across the continent, we are especially thrilled to be partnering with Meta and BlackRhino VR for the 2022 edition.

“This year’s AR/VR Africa Metathon brings together our AR/VR Africa pre-hackathon training, hackathon, and bootcamp in one programme. Working with partners in 16 countries, it is our biggest and most ambitious event yet providing even greater access for XR. In addition to physical events in these countries, we welcome participants across the continent who will be able to learn and hack virtually.

“At this time of intense global interest in the Metaverse, our mission remains the same – increasing access to XR resources on the continent, accelerating XR talent, showcasing African XR solutions and creating pathways for careers and industry.”

The Co-founder and Managing Director, BlackRhino VR, Brian Afande, added, “We are honored and elated to have partnered with Meta and Imis 3D on this promising project.

“The Metathon will encourage exploration and discovery among young African creative technologists who will have the opportunity to develop Afrocentric XR use cases that will tackle some of the unique challenges they are facing in our continent. This type of collaboration is what Africa needs to highlight the potential of new and untapped socioeconomic opportunities created by XR Technologies.”

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