Meta, at the weekend, announced the applications for the AR/VR Africa Metathon, a series of programmes and activations under the Meta global XR fund, which is aimed at supporting African XR talents to build innovative solutions that demonstrate various use cases of the metaverse in Africa.
Meta is partnering with Imisi 3D and BlackRhino VR on the AR/VR Metathon which will feature three major components including a training programme, an Africa-wide hackathon which will take place across 16 countries in Africa physically and open to everyone virtually, followed by an intensive bootcamp to further develop solutions. These components will run from mid-August to April 2023.
Policy programmes lead for Africa at Meta, Phil Oduor, in a press statement, made available to LEADERSHIP, 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 Programmes and Research Fund is a two-year $50 million investment into programmes and external research focused on building the metaverse responsibly, Oduor said, adding that, “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.”
Founder, Imisi 3D & AR/VR Africa, Judith Okonkwo, said: “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.
rica 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.”
Co-founder and managing director, BlackRhino VR, Brian Afande, said: “we are honoured 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.”