Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Head of Platform Partnerships for the Middle East and Africa. (Photo Courtesy)
Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Head of Platform Partnerships for the Middle East and Africa. (Photo Courtesy)
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In an announcement that was made via Facebook Live by Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Vice President of Platform Partnerships, on Monday, June 19th on his Facebook Page, 3 teams emerged winners and 3 were recognized as runners up from 60 finalists as part of the first-ever Bots for Messenger Developer Challenge.

The Bots for Messenger Challenge was launched on 15th February, 2017 in 64 countries (UGANDA inclusive) across the Middle East and Africa to recognize and reward developers who were able to create the most innovative new bots on Messenger.

3 teams that emerged winners won a prize of USD$20,000 (Roughly 71,840,000 UGX) while 3 other runners-up won USD$10,000 (Roughly 35,920,000UGX). in additional, all the 6 team were also given three months of Facebook mentorship.

MENA Runner-up/ Winning teams of these three categories are:

Gaming and Entertainment:
WinnerTrivoxx from Morocco; designed a bot that allows one’s or a group of friends test their trivia on sports, science, and cities in three languages: Arabic, French, and English.

Runner-up: Mastermind Games Bot from Egypt is a collection of five interactive games to solve codes based on various combinations of logic and memory. Every time a user guesses the correct code, a cave safe will open to obtain a diamond. Users can share games with their friends as they vie for the top scores.

Productivity and Utility:
Winner: Mr. Ink from Egypt; designed a bot that allows users to either type a book name, or snap a photo of the book cover, to obtain information about the book including its author, rating, and book description.

Runner-up: Evii from Jordan; with their bot that helps customers order and pick up food via its bot. Evii seize the opportunity to expand by building more end-to-end customers tools.

Social Good:
Winner: MathHook from Egypt; their bot brings math into everyone’s life by helping users to solve complex math problems and search for math courses on YouTube across 3000 math videos. There’s also a chat function to connect users with teachers or other students to solve math problems.

Runner-up: Adam (9 months) from Egypt; their bot aims to create community for pregnant women via tools and guidance, and safe communication channels between community members. Adam utilizes additional features such as location services to let users search for nearby pregnancy care, baby or maternity places. It also has an analytics tool to log user actions in custom events with custom parameters to better understand community perspectives.

In a press statement, Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Head of Platform Partnerships for the Middle East and Africa, said; “We congratulate all the winners, wish them luck and thank all of the participants for making the Bots for Messenger Challenge a success! We look forward to seeing these bots continue to evolve into strong services for their communities.”

Notably, 3 Ugandan bots; 1. Nutshell Bot: A Chat bot that gives you daily news headlines, and search for stories across Politics, Entertainment, Sports, World, Business, Gossip etc, 2. DaktariHealth: A Chat bot that helps you find Doctors, Hospitals, and Ambulance services near you, and 3. Mamas’ League: A Chat bot for expectant and youth mothers to help them interact and gain health information along different stages of mother’s pregnancy – were among the 60 finalists that were selected.