Data Science Nigeria (DSN), a self-funded initiative, in conjunction with the public and private sector is targeting 10 percent share of the Data Analytics industry which is valued at $3.3bn through its boot camp, equipping about 150 passionate Nigerians in Data Science and Machine Learning.
The four-day boot camp which was preceded by a “Big Data Economy Summit” had data scientists from different countries flown into Nigeria, as well as relevant industry stakeholders including the Statistician of the Federation, senior officers from MTN Nigeria, Diamond Bank, KPMG, and Microsoft.
Speaking at the summit, Statistician General, Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, Yemi Kale said, the value accrued to data is enormous and is the next oil in Nigeria, and the Data Science Nigeria’s initiative to equip future data scientists is a veritable initiative to harnessing the untapped potentials of the Data Analytics industry.
He asserted that data could be the next oil, a natural resource which Nigeria has been dependent on over the years for economic power.
He described the OTT (Over- the- Top) players as the biggest companies that take the entire monetary advantage of the data in their possession.
“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 much money, they sell data.”
The NBS boss defined data is essential information that determines if a policy succeed or fails, stating that, there is a correlation between economic development and countries that take data seriously.
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.
“This is something that is universal and critical. In the next few years, oil wouldn’t be relevant anymore. However data remains indispensable in taking a decision,” he added.
Emphatically, Bayo Adekambi, the convener of the Big Data Economy Summit and Boot Camp, explained that to data have shown that the Data Analytics industry valued at $3.3Billion and if Nigeria could only get a 10 percent share of that figure, this would accelerate the economic power of Nigeria.
He said Nigeria could also be an outsourcing hub of the data scientist in Africa and one of the ways to achieve that is by equipping passionate Nigerians with Data Science and Machine Learning skills.
“About 150 Nigerians from all over Nigeria have benefited from our all-expense paid boot camp where they were exposed to learning world-class Machine Learning, Big Data, intelligent tools facilitated by world-class data scientists.”
In his views about data as the new oil, Adekambi said, “data as the new oil essentially means that the intelligent application of data can allow Nigerians to understand what we do not understand.
And by doing that, we can optimize our processes and make life better; the economic return can be as much as oil,” he added.
The MTN Nigeria Executive explains that Data Science Nigeria is a self-funded initiative, supported by corporate organizations and the government.
He said the government is involved through the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), revealing that the Statistician General of the Federation, Yemi Kale was present to keynote the summit.
He was at the summit to add value to what Data Science Nigeria is doing. “However, the government is supporting the private sector commitment to the development of the economy in the area of intelligent use of data,” he added.
In an interview, Professor Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Chairman, Framiscro Group, a renowned data scientist explained that for Nigeria to diversify its economy, Nigeria needs to figure out the necessary capability that would allow her to get there.
He said technology improves productivity gates and that just means it simplifies all industrial sector of any economy.
“The transitioning process from petroleum-driven economy to a possible data-driven economy, Nigeria need to build the necessary model that would enable that.”
He added that the government is doing what it can and the private sector should participate, however, warned that Nigeria needs to move a little bit quicker because the ding and dong of the post-petroleum era are just around the corner.