Commonwealth Digital Trade Hackathon launches at final day of Youth Forum

21 June 2022
Press release
SG AT CYF 2022

The Commonwealth Digital Trade Hackathon was officially launched today at the Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF 2022), held on the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali.

The Hackathon is a joint initiative between the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Connectivity Agenda (CCA) and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO).

At the Youth Forum, Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC said:

“I am delighted that we are officially launching another important project for young people.  We are asking you to lead the future charge in building resilient, sustainable and interconnected digital economies across the Commonwealth.   We are asking you to take part in a unique HACKATHON: “Harnessing Technology to Transform the Digital Trade Economy”.

"This Hackathon will scout, select and support impact-driven teams with game-changing solutions – designed to harness the shift to digitalisation across the Commonwealth and beyond.  Trade is a vital connection in our Commonwealth family, and this Hackathon will directly engage you to come up with fresh, innovative ideas to harness digital technology to facilitate trade and cross border paperless trade.”

Ahead of the launch, Secretary-General of the CTO, Ms. Bernadette Lewis said:

“There is no returning to December 2019 and while trade is recovering, there are many more opportunities for fostering digital trade. This Hackathon will challenge you to re-imaging trade – examine the existing barriers to digital trade and developing software solutions to overcome them.  The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation is pleased to be a partner with the Commonwealth Secretariat to convene this Hackathon.

"This endeavour is part of our push to support The Commonwealth’s Connectivity Agenda, to explore and develop technologies that can facilitate cross border paperless trade. This project will bring together finance and technology innovators and major technology institutions. The winner of the Commonwealth Digital Trade Hackathon will receive a cash prize as well as entrepreneurial support.”

Game-changing solutions

The Commonwealth Digital Trade Hackathon’s theme, “Harnessing Technology to Transform the Digital Trade Economy”, will scout, select and support impact-driven teams with game-changing solutions that aim to address the shift to increased digital technology, as we strive to achieve a fairer and more frictionless international trade system across the Commonwealth and beyond.

This dynamic initiative  aims to develop  innovative solutions that increase the adoption of digital technology in the Commonwealth and beyond, the need for which has been accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Proposed solutions will therefore seek to explore high-potential existing and new technologies that can facilitate trade and cross-border paperless trade.

The Commonwealth Digital Trade Hackathon is open to teams with scale-ready solutions that want to accelerate their impact. Among the solutions that this hackathon seeks to come up with are:

  • increasing accessibility to reduce barriers to trade through efficient digital infrastructure;
  • promoting inclusive growth, including experience sharing, digital skills development and industrial upskilling;
  • improving agricultural and fisheries connectivity; and
  • promoting business to business partnerships that support inclusive and sustainable economic recovery.   

How to join

Unlike most Hackathons, the Commonwealth’s will feature scale-ready solutions. Teams will have 48 hours to prepare and present their exiting tech solution. Submission is through the Digital Hack Platform and hybrid presentation before the awarding in October. Workshops, mentorship and learning sessions are available throughout the event.

The delivery of the Hackathon is supported by Impact Hub. Sandra Akariza from Impact Hub Kigali, announced the timeline of the event. “This is a real opportunity for teams with proven solutions to make a huge difference to Commonwealth citizens by scaling their solutions internationally,” she said.

The winner of the Commonwealth Digital Trade Hackathon will receive exciting prizes and the unique opportunity to receive support to scale their solution across the Commonwealth.

E-mail the CCA team for more information about the Hackathon or to register interest in participating.

Learn more about the Connectivity Agenda

Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM)



Media contact

  • Rena Gashumba  Communications Adviser, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • T: +44 7483 919 968  |  E-mail