Olubayo Adekanmbi from MTN and Data Science Nigeria on how AI ecosystems are created

April 20, 2020
Olubayo Adekanmbi, MTN Nigeria, Data Science Nigeria at the workshop “Toward a Network of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence for Development (AI4D) in sub-Saharan Africa”, Nairobi, Kenya, April 2019

What are you working on at the moment?

My name is Olubayo Adekanmbi, I work for MTN Nigeria. I drive transformation, innovation and advanced analytics and also driving research and strategy partnership with academic institutions. On the other side I also drive data science Nigeria and AI ecosystems to build capacity, research, AI use cases and also drive for industry and academic partnership.

How do you perceive development and Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence is a meaningful and symbolic combination of machine and man to solve local problems. In this regard, we look at a major market where there are a lot of infrastructural gaps.

AI has come as an enabler to provide a platform that does not exist and actually enable the continent to address a lot of infrastructural shortages. If we look at health for example, how long will it take us to train doctors that will treat Africans?

With AI, I can automate, systemize a process and raise more doctors faster. If we look at agriculture also where yield has been very low because at the level of science that is brought into the production processes is low.

So if I bring AI into it, of course, I’m going to increase agricultural yield, which is almost 50% of GDP in Africa and that has direct multiply effect on the overall development of the continent if AI is applied in driving yield knowing the right crops to plant, optimization of weather forecast to understand to plant.

Essentially there is a logical relationship in social development and application of AI to extend that it can provide a platform to leapfrog and address some of the shortages that we have seen over the years in the continent.

What would be your blue sky project in Africa?

For me the biggest it would be the aid of health where we can automate a lot of delivery system in the continent because today if you look at it we cannot raise sufficient doctors to address our problems. So how do we automate diagnosis, investigating process using AI, how will robots be more available to guide the process, especially when it has to do with life, where error cannot be allowed.

That is one of the reasons why I am excited about a forum like this where people can share best practices. Because, in Africa, if you want to go fast you go alone, but if you want to go far, you go together. So thanks to AI development for this session, because it allows us to share best practices and learning on how we can scale up and that is how we learn to drive to apply AI development.