A Tale of Data, Communities and Opportunities: Part 2

Key takeaways from the IndabaX Ghana (Ghana Data Science Summit)

This post was written by Ulrich Mabou, an Entrepreneur-in-Training in MEST Africa’s 2019 cohort.

In the first story of this two-part series, I wrote here on how MEST Africa is supporting the growth of a data science and AI community in Ghana. I discussed our participation at the recent Data Upload Hackathon, the Practical Data Community, and the DataHack4FI challenge.

Last week, myself, some EITs (Entrepreneurs-in-Training) and MEST alumni had the privilege of attending the first edition of the IndabaX Ghana (Ghana Data Science Summit). Here are my key takeaways.

The Promise of Data Science for Economic Transformation

Aseda Addai-Deseh (Co-organizer and MC) welcoming attendees at the summit

Organized in partnership with the Deep Learning Indaba, with sponsorship from Google and Microsoft, the first edition of the IndabaX Ghana was a great success. It was attended by students, researchers, educators, business leaders, data science enthusiasts and professionals from Ghana and beyond. Under the theme ‘The Promise of Data Science for Economic Transformation,’ the summit aimed to bring increased awareness and capacity building efforts in data science and analytics (including data mining, machine learning, and artificial intelligence) to Ghana and Africa.

Winifred Kotin (Director of SuperFluid Labs Ghana) giving a keynote address

During her keynote address, Ms Winifred Kotin, Country Director of SuperFluid Labs highlighted the benefits of embracing a data-driven economy for a country like Ghana. Highlighting case studies from BMW manufacturing processes and the Nepal Financial Inclusion Plan, she emphasized that Ghana needs to fully embrace the use of data to solve problems and drive economic growth, both in the public and private sectors.

Speakers at the IndabaX Ghana

The summit was packed with a series of workshops, panel discussions and hands-on tutorial sessions on data management, business analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. We learnt a lot from prominent researchers, educators and business leaders, including Moustapha Cisse (Head of Google’s AI Centre in Africa, Founder and Director of AMMI at AIMS), Shakir Mohamed (Research Scientist at Google DeepMind), Danielle Belgrave (PhD, Researcher at Microsoft Research), Darlington Akogo (Founder at minoHealth and Runmila AI Institute), Ayorkor Korsah (PhD, Head of the Department of Computer Science at Ashesi University), and Delali Agbenyegah (Co-Founder at Wave-2 Analytics).

Some of the organizers and volunteers at the summit, including EITs from MEST

BACE Group was a partner of the event

From left to right: Miriam Darteh (IndabaX and PyLadies Ghana), Ulrich Mabou (MEST and Practical Data Community) and Charlette Desire N’guessan (IndabaX and BACE Group)

MEST portfolio company BACE Group was one of the key partners for the organization of the summit, alongside Python Ghana, minoHealth, Runmila AI Institute and University of Ghana.

Samuel Mensah, CEO of BACE Group (third from the left), taking part in a panel discussion: Diversity, Inclusion, Building Careers and Creating Opportunities in Machine Learning

On the second day, Samuel Mensah, co-founder and CEO of BACE Group, took part in a very interesting panel discussion led by Jeff Acheampong of Blossom Academy. Joined by June Seif of PEGAfrica and Darlington Akogo of minoHealth, they discussed diversity and inclusion in the local tech ecosystem and shared their views on how to build careers and create opportunities in data science and machine learning.

Kwadwo Agyapon-Ntra presents on deep learning

KayO giving a talk at the IndabaX Ghana

Current MEST EIT and PDC (Practical Data Community) member, Kwadwo Agyapong-Ntra (aka KayO as we affectionately call him) was one of the speakers at the summit alongside the likes of Moustapha Cisse, Shakir Mohamed, Danielle Belgrave and Darlington Akogo. He gave an interesting talk on Deep Learning Fundamentals, Architecture and Applications, touching on the architecture and applications of various types of commonly used deep neural networks.

KayO leading a tutorial session at the IndabaX

He also broke down the gradient descent algorithm (which he coined the ‘holy grail of machine learning’) for the audience.

On the third and final day of the summit, he also led a practical session on Introduction to Deep Learning and TensorFlow, helping some of the attendees build their first linear regression model.

Join our community and start your data science and machine learning journey

If you are currently in Accra and are interested in data science and machine learning, feel free to join us for one of our upcoming meetups. We meet every Saturday from 10 AM to 12 PM at the MEST training campus.

You can join any of the below channels to keep up to date with the community:

Meetup Group

Slack Workspace

WhatsApp Group

The largest Africa-wide technology entrepreneur training program, internal seed fund, and network of hubs offering incubation for startups: www.meltwater.org