The leadership of Data Science Nigeria (DSN) and its start-up, DSNai, made a courtesy visit to the Honourable Minister of Communications, Innovation, and the Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, on Friday 27 October 2023.
The visit afforded DSN leadership an opportunity to update the Minister on its Arewa Ladies4Tech initiative, a female-centric capacity intervention program in Northern Nigeria supported by Google.org and update the Ministry on the organization’s recent global recognition in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the Global Grand Challenge of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. DSN also discussed areas of strategic alignment with the Ministry’s policy and knowledge pillars.
The Honourable Minister, Dr. Bosun Tijani, spoke enthusiastically about the Ministry’s commitment to supporting and enabling local start-ups, especially in the AI/data annotation sector.
This AI sub-sector provides an excellent opportunity for massive job creation for entry-level data analysts while providing on-the-job skill enrichment for advanced capacity development.
DSN’s leadership used the opportunity to update the Honourable Minister on its recent dual global award and recognition in the use of AI-powered large language models using localized audio and text-to-video datasets in financial inclusion and education, respectively, which won two award slots at the foremost global AI Grand Challenge, hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
This placed the two organizations among the global best 50 out of the over 1,300 submissions made across the world.
In addition, the Honourable Minister commended the Arewa Ladies4Tech program, a women-focused capacity intervention in Northern Nigeria.
He reiterated how the intervention is consistent with the Ministry’s mandate to train 3 million technical talents by 2027, through the 3MTT program, which aims to generate a pipeline of technical talent across Nigeria and thus position the country as a net exporter of talent.
Data Science Nigeria also updated the Minister on the “catch them young” element of the Arewa Ladies4Tech, which is a collection of short, animated, and engaging learning contents that demystify Artificial Intelligence and Digital Technologies for beginners.
DSN’s leadership commended the Minister on the latest release of its Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) masterplan around the development of the “Nigerian Stack” to drive digital public services and accelerate homegrown innovations. DSN’s leadership updated the Minister on the ongoing policy discussion around Telecommunications Mobile Big Data and how the application of anonymized and de-identified human mobility data can be leveraged for public good and incremental innovations.
DSN discussed the effort of global development agencies like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to leverage these strategic data assets for disease surveillance, epidemiological modelling, polio vaccination delivery, and community profiling with proven examples of its transforming possibilities as evidenced by the significant result seen during various COVID-19 intervention projects.
In his words, Dr. Olubayo Adekanmbi, the founder of Data Science Nigeria, said, “We appreciate the opportunity to meet, learn, engage, and become abreast of the programs, initiatives, and the strategic roadmap of the Ministry. We are impressed at the momentum of the Minister, especially in the knowledge and policy pillars, and how these are well positioned to support the Government’s Renewed Hope Agenda, for the good of all. We salute the commitment of the Honourable Minister and the evident momentum that the Ministry is driving”.