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Data Science Nigeria to Raise New Generation of Datapreneurs

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Bayo Adekanmbi.

 
Young Nigerians in their hundreds participated in the maiden workshop for the Data Science Nigeria aimed at positioning the country to benefit from the growing global importance of data and data science in proffering solutions to the myriads of human challenges.
 
Speaking at the workshop in Lagos, the convener and moderator of the event, Bayo Adekanmbi, a C-Level Executive with MTN Nigeria, informed the capacity filled audience that the initiative, a professional-led approach is designed to train and mentor young Nigerians through face-to-face, virtual online classes, project-based support and holiday boot camps.

The ultimate intent of which is to raise a special breed of entrepreneurs who will set up data science based businesses and attract foreign exchange to the nation.

Adekanmbi disclosed that the initiative is a give-back project premised on what he has learnt across the world especially during his recent one-year PhD research sabbatical in the UK,  India and America said, “India is already tapping into the Data Science space and I believe Nigeria can become Africa’s data science outsourcing destination with our brilliant undergraduates, graduates and young analysts with degrees in Engineering/Sciences and other numerate subjects”.

According to him, data and data science will become the oil of the 21st century and Nigeria must join the league of countries that will be positioned for comparative advantage in data science. The workshop assembled leading lights in Data Science to mentor participants as panelists. These include Ngozi Dozie of OneFi Nigeria, Dr. Femi Oyenuga of Oracle, Seun Onigbinde of BudgIT and Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Founder, Andela while a US-based Nigerian leading data scientist and IBM Distinguished Engineer/Chief Data Scientist,   Dr. Uyi Stewart inspired and motivated the audience with his presentation titled: Leveraging Data Science to enable Nigeria Leapfrog”

The panel analyzing the growing importance of data science submits that countries, organizations and individuals need to make smart and sharper decisions, to do these “they need data and data scientists”.  According to them, data science is the potpourri of information and insights intelligently brought together to add value to human life. This can be done by studying pattern over time in a bid to build intelligence.

However, to become proficient in data science, both soft and technical skills are needed. These include natural curiousity, communication, romance with data and attention to details.

Attention to details is critical, emphasized the Aboyeji (Andela) unfortunately, not many Nigerians are good at this, he said, “the world is still a secret, you make money by identifying those secrets and proffering solutions to solve the challenges”.
 
Delivering his keynote, Dr. Uyi who currently holds 10 patents in the US, said: “Nigeria is at the tipping point with two choices open to her: investing in infrastructure or invest in data which is technology that will bring about transformational change through killer applications”.

“Investing in infrastructure will only bring about incremental change, this is where most of us are right now” said Dr. Uyi “If we decided to invest in infrastructure we choose to compete with the Chinese, we have to maintain the structure unfortunately, we do not have maintenance culture. We can achieve progress through data not infrastructure”, he submitted.

According to the IBM Chief Scientist, “Data is the new basis of comparative advantage”, he disclosed that we are surrounded by a sea of data with 2.5 Gigabytes of data generated every day.

Considering the scenarios, “Nigeria’s immediate and strategic opportunity is to leapfrog to the next wave of IT by leveraging technology and cognitive system”, Dr. Uyi advised, adding that there should be a sense of urgency for data and data science. To make progress, he said participants must innovate on how they collect data, curate data, run analysis and the custom ability of the insights generated.

According to the data expert, Nigeria has a high potential for disruption through business model and technological innovation.

He cited models where data have been used as bedrock to bring about breakthrough developments in Agriculture (Kenya), Health –Ebola (Sierra Leone) and education. Other uses of data include e-government, smart city planning, security, tourism, to mention but a few.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Business

ISPON Makes Case for CPN Affiliates on NITDA’s Board

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Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), one of the affiliate bodies of the Computer Professional Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), is worried about the continued absence of CPN representatives on the Board of Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), months after the inauguration of its board members, describing the situation as unconstitutional and lopsided.

 

While NITDA is the government agency responsible for the implementation of the country’s policies on Information Technology (IT), CPN is a government agency saddled with the responsibility of registering and controlling all IT practitioners in the country.

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The NITDA Act states that four CPN representatives would be on the NITDA Board, which are selected from each affiliate member of CPN, of which ISPON is one of them.

 

This has been the tradition since the inception of NITDA, until this year, when the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu inaugurated the NITDA Board without CPN and its affiliate members, a situation that is giving ISPON and other affiliate members of CPN, some concerns.

 

Worried about the continuous absence of CPN members on NITDA Board, ISPON has called on the minister to quickly address the situation and correct the imbalance, inline with NITDA’s Act.

 

The former President of ISPON, James Emadoye who raised the concern during the official handing over of the administration of ISPON to the incoming President, Dr. Yele Okeremi in Lagos recently, urged the minister to revisit the inauguration and ensure that CPN members are on the Board of NITDA.

 

Okeremi who saw the situation as loss of permanent seats by the CPN, promised to engage the minister until the matter is resolved.

 

Narrating the circumstances that led to the absence of CPN members on NITDA’s Board, Emadoye said: “It is the responsibility of the minister to inaugurate members of the NITDA Board and the minister had called for the list from CPN, which was sent to him before the inauguration, but along the line NITDA instead on quota basis for the selection process and that someone from the North-west must be on the board, which negates the NITDA Act that clearly states that four professionals representing each of the geopolitical group will be nominated to the NITDA Board.

 

Emadoye insisted it was not proper to neglect the affiliates in the inauguration of NITDA Board and called on the minister to revisit the issue and address it amicably.

 

The Minister of Communications had in March this year, inaugurated a team of 16 board members that will drive the affairs of NITDA, without the four representatives from CPN.

 

Since then, stakeholders from the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, have criticised the omission of CPN nominees, while blaming it on NITDA, whom they believed did not handle the entire process of the inauguration with the utmost national interest it deserved.

 

Giving reasons for the omission of CPN nominees, the Director, E-Government Development and Regulation at NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunji told THISDAY that the omission of CPN nominees was as a result of a mix-up in the submission of names and that CPN has been further directed to rectify the list of its nominees, and resend same to the minister. According to Olatunji, as soon as the list is rectified and sent, the CPN members would be inaugurated into NITDA Board.

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Edo Innovation Hub Partners Siemens on ‘The Hack Edo Series’

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Sequel to its launch only last week, the Edo Innovates tech cluster has concluded modalities for The Hack Edo Series, a multi-dimensional initiative to identify and incubate the best ideas that tackle problems of power generation and distribution faced by individuals, businesses and the digital ecosystem, with a N3.5 million prize money.

In a statement by Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Skills Development and Jobs Creation, Mrs. Ukinebo Dare, said that The Hack Edo Series which is being organised in partnership with Impact Hub and Siemens Nigeria, will leverage innovation technology to identify solutions in the area of power generation, adding that N3.5 million in cash prizes will be won by the best ideas.

She said starts-ups or groups with ideas can apply on the Edo jobs website, as deadline for application is on June 30.

According to her, “through a series of practical Hackathons, the Hack Edo series aims to equip young Nigerian innovators with the skills necessary to make impact in their various communities.”

She said the series will help increase the number of individuals taking action on social and economic issues, build a collaborative community that tackles issues and identify the best ideas that will be supported through the incubation phase.

She said the hackathons will catalyse high-growth startups within Edo State, support development of ventures from ideation to commercialization and promote job creation and economic development, adding, “this will drive and ensure the increased adoption of local technology by government, corporates and development agencies across Edo state and Nigeria, strengthen and raise the standard of startups in the region and deliver positive social impact returns to communities and people across the region.”

It would be recalled that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, alongside Governor Godwin Obaseki, last week, launched the South-South Innovation Hub in the state, kicking off activities for the state’s fledging tech ecosystem at the remodeled Institute of Continuing Education (ICE).

The state government has partnered with over 25 technology firms in setting up the facility, which will serve as a one-stop shop for training, incubation, acceleration for start-ups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the state.

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ReadyBargains, New Online Shopping Platform Begins Operations

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ReadyBargains online business has launched an online platform to allow Nigerians who love shopping online visit shops online, make purchases and get them delivered to their choice locations.

 

“Our goal is to meet the needs of different classes of people looking for good bargains,” Don Okhuofu, chairman, ReadyBargains, said during the launch of the platform recently.

 

“Customers using our platform have access to shop from different UK and US stores using a single cart and a $10 off cart coupon available to the first basket checked out by every customer.

 

“The products are delivered to our customers across the country at their door steps of collection points of their choices,” Okhuofu said.

 

According to him, the platform gives users a 10- 15 percent cost reduction, compared with that of competitors.

 

He noted that all users have access to an additional $10 off every purchases of above $100 made from Walmart, Tesco, Carters and Mothercare.

 

“The risks of getting fake products from our services are remote because users shop directly from the foreign stores themselves. We assure users of quality products because they deal directly with the producers,” he further said.

 

Speaking on the challenging environment for e-commerce operators in the country, Okhuofu stated that the seeming failure of e-commerce business was because of their cost/revenue structure.

 

 

 

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