The MTN Group presents an exciting opportunity for African developers to showcase their skills through the MoMo API Hackathon 2023. This developer challenge focuses on leveraging MTN’s Mobile Money (MoMo) APIs to build innovative solutions.
This comprehensive guide provides everything African developers need to know about the MoMo API hackathon including how to register, compete, and maximize opportunities to build groundbreaking products.
Overview of MTN Group MoMo API Hackathon
The MTN MoMo API Hackathon is an annual pan-African hackathon organized by MTN Group since 2016. The aim is to promote innovation by having African developers create digital solutions using MTN’s Mobile Money APIs.
- Runs for 2-3 months from registration to finals.
- Focuses on using MTN MoMo APIs for product development.
- Open to developers from all African countries where MTN operates.
- Individuals or teams of up to 4 people can participate.
- Free to register and participate.
- Attractive prizes including cash rewards and investment opportunities.
The MoMo hackathon enables developers to showcase talent, gain recognition, and get a headstart with their solutions.
Benefits of Participating in MTN Group MoMo API Hackathon
The MTN MoMo API hackathon offers African developers immense benefits, including:
- Cash Prizes – Opportunity to win monetary rewards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.
- Funding Opportunities – Chance to secure investor funding to advance winning solutions to market.
- Product Development – Rapidly build an innovative product using MTN MoMo APIs.
- Mentorship – Access guidance from digital payments experts during product building.
- Networking – Interact with fellow leading developers across Africa.
- Publicity – Gain public visibility for your brand by showcasing your solution.
- Jobs & Internships – Possibility for employment or internships with MTN or partner organizations.
- Learning – Exposure to latest fintech and mobile money developments in Africa.
The experience accelerates learning and unlocks growth opportunities for developers early in their journeys.
Hackathon Focus Areas
Participants are encouraged to develop solutions aligned to the following areas of focus:
- Financial Inclusion – Solutions promoting financial access and literacy.
- HealthTech – Innovations enabling digital healthcare services.
- Agritech – Farmer-focused tools for agriculture advancement.
- Digital Commerce – Payment integrations for SMEs and merchant businesses.
- Gaming & Entertainment – Services enhancing gaming and digital content experiences.
- Smart Data Science – Analytics for consumer insights and fraud prevention.
- Cybersecurity – Innovations safeguarding mobile money transactions.
- Emerging Technologies – Leveraging AI, ML, IoT, biometrics etc. for novel solutions.
Developers are welcome to build products across other use cases as well. The emphasis is applying MTN’s MoMo APIs in innovative ways.
Eligibility Criteria for Participants
To qualify for participating in the hackathon challenge, the core requirements are:
- Must be an resident of an African country where MTN operates.
- No restriction on academic qualifications or developer experience. Entry level developers are encouraged.
- Must be 18 years or older.
- Have access to internet and computer for software development.
- Can participate as an individual or in teams up to 4 people.
- Only digital solutions using MTN’s MoMo APIs are permitted.
As long as above criteria are met, any African developer or team can register to compete. This provides an inclusive forum for innovation.
MoMo APIs Available
MTN provides access to a robust set of MoMo APIs for the hackathon on its developer portal for participants to build with:
- Sandbox – Test environment mirroring production for testing apps.
- User Identity – Manage user identity and access control.
- Account – Create customer accounts and manage transactions.
- Transactions – Initiate mobile money transfers, deposits etc.
- Bulk Disbursements – Automated payout processing.
- Loyalty & Rewards – Functionality for loyalty programs.
- Fees & Rates – Retrieve applicable fees and forex rates.
- Location – Find MTN store coordinates.
- Analytics – Insights on usage and activity.
Developers can mix and match APIs to create cutting-edge solutions adapted for African markets.
Key Hackathon Timeline and Activities
The MTN MoMo hackathon follows a structured 2-month program:
Registration (Month 1) – Developers sign up individually or as teams and confirm participation.
Bootcamp (Week 1-2) – Introductory training is provided on MoMo APIs, demo solutions, best practices etc. to orient participants.
Hackfest (Week 3-8) – Core phase for teams to build out solutions using specified APIs within 5 week duration. Mentor support provided during hackfest.
Submission (Week 9) – Teams submit solutions by defined deadline for evaluation. Code, documentation, demo video required.
Judging (Week 10-11) – Solutions screened by a panel of FinTech, MTN and ecosystem experts who will select top 10 finalists.
Finale (Month 2) – The finalists pitch to judges. Winners announced and awards ceremony held.
The structured agenda provides comprehensive guidance and support for developers.
The criteria used by judges to evaluate solutions and pick winners is based on:
- Innovation – How unique, creative and groundbreaking is the solution.
- Polish & Stability – Quality of UX, design, presentation, flow, bugs etc.
- Scalability – Potential of the solution to expand across large audiences and markets.
- Impact – The tangible problem it solves and benefit delivered to African users.
- MoMo API Usage – How well it utilizes MTN’s MoMo APIs with integration quality.
- Pitch Presentation – Ability to effectively present and demonstrate the solution.
Teams need to keep the judging standards in mind during product building to maximize chances of success.
Hackathon Registration Process
To enter the competition, developers have to register by the deadline once hackathon dates are announced:
- Visit the MTN MoMo hackathon website when registration commences.
- Create a participant profile with name, contact, country, skills etc.
- Fill out registration form and accept terms.
- Pay registration fee if applicable.
- Receive confirmation and credentials to access APIs, resources etc.
- Optionally connect with other developers to form a team.
Prompt registration ensures teams have maximum time to build solutions for the hackathon.
Preparation Tips for Participants
Here are some useful tips for developers and teams to prepare for the hackathon:
- Review MoMo API docs to understand capabilities thoroughly.
- Brainstorm innovative use cases suited for African context.
- Vet ideas with target users, stakeholders for feedback.
- Study past winning solutions for inspiration on scope, functionality.
- Plan product roadmap, workflow allocation across team.
- Create visual mockups, wireframes to align understanding.
- Set up local dev environment with required software, tools.
- Use GitHub for code collaboration between team members.
- Test APIs extensively in sandbox environment during building.
- Focus on core functionality first versus advanced features.
- Create demo video showing how the solution works.
Investing in planning and preparation maximizes the hackathon success potential.
Team Formation Tips
For participants joining as teams, consider these tips for ideal team composition:
- Build a complementary skill mix – front-end, back-end, design etc.
- Align on common work timings to enable collaboration.
- Define individual roles and responsibilities clearly.
- Have a strong project manager to drive progress.
- Ensure there is good cultural harmony in the team.
- Stay in constant communication via channels like Slack or WhatsApp.
- Collaborate using tools like Trello, Miro, GitHub etc.
- Maintain transparency on work status through daily standups.
- Be ready to support each other and step in as needed.
Forming a cohesive team with collective ownership enhances the ability to develop impactful solutions.
Support for Participants During Hackathon
MTN provides a robust support system for participants during the hackathon challenge:
- hackathon website and developer portal serves as a comprehensive resource center.
- Dedicated technical mentors to provide API and integration guidance as needed.
- Online community forums and chat groups for Q&A and discussions.
- Help desk to resolve issues faced during solution development.
- Sample code, tutorials, videos and guides to accelerate learning.
- Webinars by partners on business model design, scaling solutions etc.
- Activation of additional API test credentials if needed.
- Option for further solution ideation and direction.
Leveraging the support channels enables participants to fully focus on coding without roadblocks.
The MTN Group looks to harness top solutions coming out of the hackathon via:
Investment – Funding to scale and go-to-market through MTN’s investment arm or partners.
Piloting – Winners get the opportunity to launch a pilot for their product with MTN.
Business Support – Ongoing mentorship on commercializing and optimizing the product.
Employment – Chance for full-time or internship roles with MTN’s innovation teams.
Contracting – Possibility to build out digital solutions as a vendor for MTN.
Partnerships – Potential to collaborate with MTN’s ecosystem of multinational partners.
Market Access – Support with legal, regulatory, logistics aspects to launchcountrywide.
Career Advancement – Visibility and connections to progress your developer career.
The hackathon can serve as a launchpad for product-minded developers in African markets.
In summary, key highlights for developers considering the MTN MoMo hackathon:
- Exciting opportunity to transform fintech innovations from ideas to reality.
- Chance to leverage MTN MoMo APIs to solve critical problems in Africa.
- Develop solutions for financial inclusion, agriculture, healthcare, commerce etc.
- Collaborate and compete with talented developers across Africa.
- Gain investor interest, business support and employment prospects.
- Visibility for advancing your brand as a developer or startup.
- Learning emerging technologies and building unique products.
- Potential to impact digital adoption positively in Africa.
For aspiring African developers, participation in the MTN hackathon can fast-track productization and progress.
The MTN MoMo API hackathon promises an enriching experience for African developers to learn and build using mobile money tech.
Developers looking to upgrade skills, gain visibility, and translate ambitious ideas into functional prototypes will find immense value in participating. The program design enables innovating digital solutions tailored for unique African market challenges.
By reviewing the hackathon scope and requirements detailed in this guide, developers can determine fit and optimize preparation. With the right mindset and effort, the experience can springboard product-oriented developers and startups successfully into the African digital economy while enabling technology for social impact.