Hundreds of software engineers from across Egypt competed in the US Embassy’s “CODE WILD EGYPT: Wildlife Hackathon” this week at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport, Alexandria.
The teams Alpha, Cyano Bacteria, and Trivan won first, second and third place, respectively, and will split $2,000 in funding to further develop their apps.
Teams developed applications to raise awareness and combat wildlife trafficking. Egypt’s hackathon is one of 14 US Department of State-sponsored hackathons being hosted around the world this year.
Regional policy advisor from the US Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Ariel Wyckoff, explained the importance of the hackathons at CODE WILD EGYPT’s opening ceremony. “The Department of State’s hackathons promote technology solutions, build cross-sector collaboration, raise awareness, and empower communities to combat wildlife trafficking. The apps you develop will help combat wildlife trafficking on social media and help the public identify endangered animals in captivity,” Wyckoff said.
According to Mohamed Fouad, executive director of the Africa and Arab Collegiate Programming Championship, “This partnership is a perfect fit. The Arab Academy runs dozens of programming contests across the Middle East and Africa every year. It’s a privilege for us to connect government and civil society with some of Egypt’s most creative and talented software engineers to confront global problems.”
Wildlife trafficking is a serious transnational crime that undermines the rule of law, fuels corruption, robs communities of legitimate economic livelihoods, and pushes species to the brink of extinction. In Egypt, migratory birds are threatened as a result of traffickers in Africa, the Gulf, and Europe.
The United States is a leader in the fight against wildlife trafficking. In February 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13773, which highlighted wildlife trafficking as one of four priority areas in the effort to dismantle organised crime syndicates.