Bayo Adekanmbi, a C-Level Executive with MTN Nigeria has revealed that as Nigeria quest for data driven economy rises, raising a special breed of entrepreneurs who will set up data science based businesses and attract foreign exchange to the nation.
Speaking recently at 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, 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.
He 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”.
In his submission, 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 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.
Adekanmbi made it clear that to become proficient in data science, both soft and technical skills are needed. These include natural curiosity, communication, romance with data and attention to details.
He argued that “Attention to details is critical, and “the world is still a secret, you make money by identifying those secrets and proffering solutions to solve the challenges”.
Earlier in his keynote address, 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” he said stressing that “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”.
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.
He said considering the scenarios, “Nigeria’s immediate and strategic opportunity is to leapfrog to the next wave of IT by leveraging technology and cognitive system”.
Uyi therefore advised that there should be a sense of urgency for data and data science, noting that “To make progress, participants must innovate on how they collect data, curate data, run analysis and the custom ability of the insights generated.
While arguing that Nigeria has a high potential for disruption through business model and technological innovation, Uyi 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.
The workshop assembled was the gathering eagles in knwlegde economy and data drivers in Nigeria including 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.