There is no gainsaying in the commonplace that no African country ranks among the top nations in the world adopting the smart technology. The reason for this gap is the absence of structured data which Artificial Intelligence feeds on. It will as such be intriguing to see how these tools are being put into students’ employ as the future of Artificial Intelligence in Nigeria could be contingent upon their exploits.
A lot of organisations in the past have put in efforts to revitalise Nigeria as the leader in specific fields and spheres. Most of these initiatives shave thrived, while some of them didn’t. Even so, many platforms in the county are resilient with their goals and particular about their drives; to make Nigeria one of the most developed and revered countries in Africa as it has to do with innovation and tech.
In what seemed like an unprecedented, dramatic turn for the country, one of such die-hard innovation platforms, Data Science Nigeria (DSN), took the noteworthy, quest-filled and first-of-its-kind step in its devotion to reposition Nigeria as Africa’s supreme overlord when it comes to Analytics, Research, and Data-Driven solutions. This they did by building and commissioning the first-ever Artificial Intelligence Hub, one that has got the students and general populace of the country quite convivial, in the University of Lagos. This move was able to convene the academia, industry key players, veterans and the community of tech-savvy practitioners, with the target of championing a strong synergic connection which will steer innovation to look into socio-economic challenges that pervade in the nation.
The founder of Date Science Nigeria, Mr. Bayo Adekanmbi, in his brief opening speech, construed the Artificial Intelligence Hub as a strategic intervention which will do well to upsurge research, innovation and information technology across Nigeria. He also noted that the hub has a crystal-clear target on the local innovations mindset to bring about solutions to local/business issues with top priority on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). According to him, the foreseen and spontaneous strategies that will be deployed in this tech environment include Mentoring and Masterclass sessions that will be facilitated by experts and boot camps in global Artificial Intelligence. The hub will in an equal way serve as a significant avenue for the development of the AI circle in the country, focus on intensive learning and encourage the discovery of talent in the sphere of innovation and data analytics.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Professor O.T. Ogundipe, in his brief address, eulogised Data Science Nigeria for the AI Hub and assured the founder, Mr. Adekanmbi along with his tandems of the complete and unwavering support from the management of the Western Nigerian academic citadel. The professor informed the stakeholders that the DSN AI Hub initiatives is in stark alignment with the University’s original focus on the need and upsides of innovation, incubation, and entrepreneurship.
DSN is a non-profit organization driven by its ardent vision to amplify the development of Nigeria through a solution-based application of machine learning to put two and two together concerning social/business bottlenecks and galvanize the revolution of data science knowledge, which can in turn position the country to become the outsourcing hub for international Data Science/Advanced Analytics/Big Data projects, with an avenue to score no less than 1 percent share of the worldwide big data and analytics market, whose net worth as at 2017 was at USD 150 bn and envisioned to be valued at USD203 bn in 2020.
Whether or not this space that speaks highly of tech and innovation will play a substantial role in the considered areas remains a prospect. But, Nigeria, by way of this development is set to becoming an actual force to be reckoned with. This AI Hub has the capacity of accommodating 50 students and is planned to grow three times such size before the year ends.
Image courtesy: Vanguard