Data Science Nigeria (DSN) has continued to distinguish itself through innovative and transformational initiatives including the commissioning of the first-of-its-kind Artificial Intelligence (AI) Startup Incubation/Research Hub in Nigeria.
The DSN AI Startup incubation/research hub located at 33 Queens Street, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria, is part of its effort to support innovation development, supported by advanced AI working tools, daily academic classes, expert mentors, access to fund and industry partnership.
The center which is supported with research robots, donated by the University College, London, United Kingdom, will focus on cutting edge applications of Artificial Intelligence and Digital technologies in EdTech, FinTech, AgriTech and MedTech.
It has a 100-seat class for free daily AI classes, a well-stocked library of recent AI books and a dedicated workspace for 50 professionals/researchers.
Speaking during the commissioning on Wednesday 7 July 2021, the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Innovation & Technology, Olatunbosun Alake, said that as partners – DSN hub has been strategic in achieving Lagos State dogged goals in the area of data science, innovation, and technology.
In his address described the new AI hub as “truly a landmark” in the country’s advancement into the new era of data science and artificial intelligence, really proud data science Nigeria.
“DSN is truly contributing value in no small measure. Lagos State is super proud of the DSN’s achievement,” he said.
“Young Nigerians must make judicious use of this great facility,” the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi, said in a goodwill message.
He said the hub is an AI research lab for young Nigerians to incubate and develop ideas for the nation to emerge into the fourth industrial revolution while also creating more opportunities for Nigerians in the area of the digital economy.
He explained that as Nigeria’s first AI incubation center, DSN Hub is bound to change lives and transform society.
A representative of the Bill and Melinda Gates, also a DSN partner, Dr. Jeremie Zoungrana, eulogized the Hub’s vision to develop industry-ready capacity noting that AI will add a whopping $30trillion to global economic output within the next five years while it will add at least a 20% boost to the country’s local economy.
“We are excited supporting DSN as an organization that is committed to building technical capacity. Free AI classes will contribute to Nigeria’s social-economic development. We look forward to supporting more”
He described the startup hub as the “first of its kind aimed at building a local startup, noting that data is the catalyst of the 4th industrial revolution”
The Chairman, Data science Nigeria, Dr. Uyi Stewart, showered encomiums on the efforts of the DSN team for “leveraging data science to advance and move the country forward”.
Dr. Stewart believes that the AI hub will remove the barrier of fears of availability, provide knowledge and needed support for the country’s huge talents to, “get up and never look back, activate and transform Nigeria as the doors are opened, barriers are removed”.
In a virtual broadcast to the capacity audience, the CEO, MainOne, Ms. Funke Opeke, also a DSN Strategic partner, acknowledged the vision of the founder and his hard-working team – filling a critical need in the society.
“DSN is a good work in the new normal”, she said, “You cannot thrive in the society of today without competencies in data science and AI”.
Opeke opines that through activities of DSN and AI hub, “lives will be transformed”.
In the same vein, Dr. Ayodeji Coker, Autonomy AI Portfolio Manager with the UK government, said the AI Hub is a groundbreaking feat for the country.
He said it will provide an unequaled opportunity for Nigeria to emerge and leapfrog as Nigerians have ample opportunity to accelerate development into the next phase.
Earlier, the Founder of Data Science Nigeria, Bayo Adekanmbi, said that the new AI Hub will not in any way replace the earlier established DSN (two) hubs. “This is an addition to our existing hubs.”
He said the one hub at Lekki is dedicated to HealthTech issues, while the one at Muritala Mohammed Way, Yaba is also very functional.
“All these are driven by the big vision of building talents, solving problems, and translating these to solutions, acknowledging that the talents are here in Nigeria in abundance, ” he said.