October 16, 2023

Leeds Africa Conference on Data Science and Artificial Intelligence

An AIMS tutor and January intake students attended this conference from 2 to 6 October. The conference was organised by the University of Leeds and the University of Pretoria.

The conference sessions were interesting and discussed topics like utilising artificial intelligence in various disciplines. Notably, AIMS students made contributions through discussions, especially for those doing research related to the conference’s theme.

“During my participation, I presented a comprehensive overview of AIMS, detailing its origins, vision, programmes, and available opportunities. Surprisingly, I discovered that some of the participants didn’t know about AIMS. Some lecturers from the Universities of Leeds and Pretoria showed a desire to volunteer to educate and mentor AIMS students. The conference addressed Africa’s challenges in data science and AI, showcasing initiatives from the University of Leeds. The event emphasized future collaborations between Leeds and Africa to overcome these challenges collectively,” noted Mr Musa Hussien a tutor at AIMS.

Other students wrote the following about their experiences:

“First of all, I’d like to thank AIMS for allowing us to honour the invitation to attend the conference. My experience with the conference started when I was given an opportunity to talk about my AIMS journey. I gained confidence to an extent that I could start explaining my research project to everyone who was there. I attended not only as an AIMS delegate but as an young African who’s eager and hungry to learn ways to change the continent of Africa at large. The moment that stood out for me was when I was chairing the “Bridging the gap between Academia and Industry” unconference session. This made me realise how much potential I have and that I must embrace the self-confidence I have. It also taught me leadership and management.”  Maitielo Reneilwe Maanaso (South Africa)

“Attending the conference was a remarkable experience. The event provided valuable insights into the world of data science, particularly from a mathematical sciences perspective. The knowledge I gained was truly enlightening and will undoubtedly shape the future of data science in Africa.”  Marry Thekhwe (South Africa)

“A world class meeting of scientists across disciplines in one place, demonstrating applications of Data Science and Mathematics. The definition of meaningful research, that improves livelihoods and establishes sustainable development. Emphasising the importance of collaborative work between domains and its unmatched benefits.” Clinton Garayi (Zimbabwe)

“The conference was outstanding. I met numerous individuals from various parts of Africa and Europe. We engaged in insightful discussions and learned a lot from one another. The atmosphere was cordial, and everyone collaborated effectively. The knowledge we gained can be instrumental in benefiting our continent. Attending the conference was a fulfilling experience for me. It became clear that with the right strategy and collective effort, we can harness the power of data science, AI, and mathematics to tackle some of Africa’s challenges. I’m deeply thankful to AIMS and the organisers for allowing me to be part of such a transformative event.” Edmond Malepane (South Africa)

‘The conference was in parts fun, interesting, eye-opening and educative. Moreover, it provided an opportunity to network with the Leeds University academics, an opportunity we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.” Kukhanya Zondo (Zimbabwe)

“Engaging with brilliant minds from Africa and the UK in the field of data science was truly enlightening. Witnessing the strides being made by Africans in this domain and observing the application of AI and machine learning across various disciplines like astronomy, healthcare, and finance, was inspiring. Noting the gaps that I need to bridge within the field, each day of the conference offered a peek into the future of technology and helped me envision my role within it. I am not only a statistician but also a data scientist, ready to explore and contribute to this evolving field one algorithm at a time.” Oprah Natasha Phiri (Zimbabwe)

‘My experience at the conference led me to understand that Artificial Intelligence can be applied in different sectors such as financial institutions, agriculture, astronomy, health and education.” Neo Kevin Sibuyi (South Africa)

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