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Facebook is inviting IT developers in the Middle East and Africa to enter a competition to develop software robots on its Messenger platform.
The social media giant wants developers, working in teams of three, to create software robots for the gaming and entertainment industries, for productivity and utility, and for social good. The deadline for entries is 28 April.
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In the Middle East/North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, Facebook’s Bots for Messenger Developer Challenge will have 10 finalists in each of the three categories, with one winning team in each. The winners will receive $20,000 and three months’ Facebook mentorship. The three runners-up in each category will win $10,000 and three months’ Facebook mentorship.
All 30 finalists in the Middle East/North Africa will receive a Samsung Gear VR and mobile phone, one hour of Facebook mentorship and tools and services from a Facebook programme designed to help early-stage mobile startups to build and grow their bots, known as FbStart.
Facebook said: “For many years, Facebook has been promoting innovation across the Middle East and Africa, providing startups with the tools they need to build, grow, monetise and measure. Facebook grew out of a hacker culture, and we thrive on seeking out and promoting innovation on new platforms.
“That is why we are launching this contest to recognise and reward developers who are able to create the most innovative bots on Messenger in the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa.”
Organisations in the Middle East are adopting modern IT rapidly. For example, software robots are being used in the region’s banks to provide customer services.
The region is also leading the way in developing smart cities with a large project in Dubai. Meanwhile, countries including Bahrain have created IT startup hubs to develop apps for enterprises and consumers.