The Big Data Workshop in Africa


Yetunde Folajimi
Wentworth Institute of Technology 550 Huntington Avenue Boston, Massachusetts 02115


Recent years have seen an increase in the amount of attention paid to the lack of diversity and shortage of data in the field of artificial intelligence and its influence on developing countries, particularly in Africa. This paper examines the burgeoning interest in big data within academic and business sectors, with a specific focus on Nigeria's standing in the African Big Data Readiness Index. Despite Nigeria's stature as a major African economy, it ranks 21st on the index, suggesting a notable discrepancy in big data adoption and proficiency. The study draws inspiration from a free, week-long course covering big data, design thinking, and women in technology, at University of Ibadan, Nigeria in July 2017. The paper provides an in-depth analysis of the event's organization, emphasizing the keen interest in big data and machine learning among Nigerian researchers. Methodologies for participant recruitment and event logistics are discussed, alongside the demographic analysis of attendees, which offers insight into gender and educational disparities in the field. The paper also highlights the event's diverse activities, from hands-on data analysis to discussions on women in technology. Results from participant surveys show unanimous satisfaction and a strong inclination towards big data tools and machine learning. The paper concludes by underscoring the vital role such educational initiatives play in enhancing big data understanding in Nigeria, while also calling attention to the need for increased female participation in AI sectors.

February 17, 2024
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