Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Head of Platform Partnerships for the Middle East and Africa/ Photo: Courtesy

By SME Digital Correspondent

Facebook has settled on 60 finalists from hundreds of candidates drawn from the Middle East and Africa who applied for the Bots for Messenger Developer Challenge.

The Bots for Messenger Challenge is a contest to recognize and reward developers who create the most innovative new bots on Messenger.

Developers, in teams of up to three people, were invited to create bots in three categories: gaming and entertainment; productivity and utility; and social good.

“Facebook grew out of a hacker culture and thrives by promoting innovation on new platforms. That’s why we launched the Bots for Messenger Challenge, with the aim of rewarding entrepreneurs and developers for harnessing the power of bots to create amazing new services and apps,” said Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Head of Platform Partnerships for the Middle East and Africa.

The 60 finalist teams (10 per category in the Middle East/North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa) each won a Gear VR and mobile phone, one hour of Facebook mentorship, and tools and services from FbStart (a Facebook program designed to help early stage mobile startups build and grow their bots. All student teams who made it to the finals won an additional Kshs200000.

He added: “We were overwhelmed to receive more than 1,000 entries over two and a half months for the Bots for Messenger Challenge from developers and entrepreneurs across the Middle East and Africa—each one of them solving a problem in an inventive way or enriching the lives of its target user.”

The finalists will be contacted and connected with a mentor by Facebook at a later date. They will need to resubmit their bots before midnight (GMT) on June 2 to qualify to win.

For each region, three runner-up teams (one from each category) will win Kshs1000000 and three months of Facebook mentorship. For each region, three winning teams (one from each category) will win Kshs2000000 and three months of Facebook mentorship.

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