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Dubai Customs launches Al Furdah Datathon challenge to boost data-driven innovation

22 Nov, 2020

As part of its endeavours to promote smart transformation towards the city of the future and foster the culture of data exchange, Dubai Customs announced the launch of its open data challenge Al Furdah Datathon to encourage creative minds to put forward data-driven ideas and innovations using Dubai Customs’ open data available at Dubai Pulse platform. 

Programmers, developers and students can register for the challenge through Dubai Customs website during November 22 to 28. Participants are required to email their project submissions to before the 28th of November. The three categories of the competition are Employees, Public and Students.  The first three winning projects will be announced and recognized at Gitex 2020. Winners will receive rewards and certificates of appreciation from the Director General of Dubai Customs. 

The challenge brings together open data specialists including engineers, programmers and experts to contribute to finding digital solutions that will benefit the customs sector. It particularly aims to make the best use of open data to create value-added ideas and systems to stimulate economic growth and meet Dubai Plan 2021 objectives. 

“Dubai Customs continues to actively engage with the public to join us in shaping the UAE’s next fifty years by coming up with creative ideas for facilitation of legitimate trade, protection of borders and intellectual property rights,” said Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs. 

“Last year, we successfully organized the AI Hackathon which saw strong competition from experts and professionals. The winning teams presented initiatives to improve three customs services based on artificial intelligence: Customs Clearance, Request Customs Expert Opinion, and Request Goods Classification. Such developments save Dh30 million and reduce customer time from 2 business days to 5 minutes only. And here we are today launching this open data challenge which we trust will achieve the intended outcomes and translate into practical capacity-building projects for the customs and trade sectors.”  

Open data does in fact play a critical role in informing the decision-making process through transparent access to accurate and up-to-date information while encouraging the community participation in using open data to stimulate the economic growth and promote innovation, noted Musabih. 

Juma Al Ghaith, Executive Director for Customs Development, said “The Datathon initiative aims at raising awareness of the importance of open data as well as attracting the best minds and harnessing the latest innovation in the areas of data science and its applications. We expect wide participation of programmers, specialists and young data enthusiasts who will certainly bring great value to the efficiency of Customs business and support our digital transformation drive towards making Dubai the world’s smartest city.”


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