Data Science Nigeria (DSN) says it is driving industry-level discussions about Nigeria’s need to build its big data and machine learning ecosystem, even as government push to diversify away from oil.
Bayo Adekanmbi, MTN’s executive, said the company as a non-profit initiative has the goal of being well positioned to access a 10 per cent share of the global data analytics outsourcing market, which is expected to garner $5.9 billion by 2020.
Yemi Kale, Statistician General of the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), while speaking at an industry engagement summit facilitated by DSN to help practitioners prepare for this opportunity, said that the value of data is enormous, and that Data Science Nigeria’s initiative to equip future data scientists is a veritable initiative harnessing untapped potentials in the data analytics industry.
Kale stated that, “Data is money. Some of the multinationals like WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook may be providing their services for free, but they are worth billions of Naira. What they do to make so much money is sell data,” he said:
“We understand that oil has been the primary source of revenue for Nigeria, but if we start taking this serious, data could be more valuable than the oil.
Olumide Olayinka, Partner and Head of Analytics Practice, KPMG Nigeria in his industry perspective presentation, said that, “Some organisations do not even understand that they need data scientists, and unfortunately this subject is not even discussed in the boardroom.”
He also advanced the argument that, “Machine learning and artificial intelligence are not taking away our jobs; [they facilitate] the rise of humans to create better jobs”.
Dozie Uzoma, the CEO of Diamond Bank, who spoke about why a CEO needs data science. He said, “Twenty years ago, accountants were important as they looked at historical records. Today, data scientists are important because we want algorithms that understand the future and can predict how to meet the needs of customers”.
In his practical application presentation, Ndubuisi Ekekwe remarked that technology improves productivity rates and simplifies all the industrial sectors of any economy.
According to him, “Nigeria needs to build the necessary model that would enable her transit from “a petroleum-driven economy to a possible data-driven economy”.