Bringing big data science to Africa

Published: Monday 24th June 2019
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A major event on big data and artificial intelligence in Africa – organised by TWAS, TYAN and the Elsevier Foundation – is planting the seeds for critical data-analysis expertise on the continent.

TYAN Executive Committee member and event co-organizer Bolanle Ojokoh speaks during the event. [Photo provided]

Big data and artificial intelligence techniques, such as machine learning, are changing the very nature of science, making it possible for scientists to glean deep insights from massive volumes of data. But an important question remains: How can these new techniques help Africans?

A special event taking place this week in Akure, Nigeria, aims to not just answer this question, but help bring these powerful tools to a new generation of African researchers. The event is bringing together over 70 new and established researchers in this field from 14 different countries – 8 of them African. It is organised by TWAS and the TWAS Young Affiliates Network (TYAN) and co-organised and supported by the Elsevier Foundation, a long-time TWAS partner dedicated to diversity and inclusion in science, technology and health, as well as advancing research in developing countries.

Bolanle Ojokoh, a data scientist who serves on the Executive Committee of the TWAS Young Affiliates Network (TYAN), said that knowledge about artificial intelligence and big data is not yet readily available in Africa.

“So we expect this event to provide a platform,” Ojokoh said. “We have people who can exchange ideas. We can interact, and it will help to gain knowledge from one another. At the end of the day this will build capacity for all of us as researchers in this part of the world.”

Read more about the event in our partners’ article: Bringing big data science to Africa.