Experts, who spoke at the just concluded Big Data and Business Analytics Conference, have described data as the new oil, urging business owners and the government to commoditise it and ultimately, boost the country’s economy.

At the 2-day event, organized by the Information and Data Analytics Foundation (iDAF) in Lagos, the experts noted that with available and accessible data in Nigeria, business owner and the government can leverage data as a front line revenue stream in powering the economy.

They believe that though, data in Africa is still at its infancy stage, the continent is well-positioned to play big in the big data market, which is worth an estimated USD$42 billion. The argument is based on three factors, namely: favorable demographics; high and increasing internet penetration and changing education trends.

Speaking in his welcome address, the Lead Convener, and Founder of Information and Data Analytics Foundation (iDAF), Theophilus Mederios, noted that companies in Nigeria that do not have technology as a core-competency need to make necessary decisions and investments to be able to adopt artificial intelligence in the future.

He argues that Africa’s future of work story will be different from developed markets, as about 51 percent of the continent’s job potentials across multiple sectors will be dependent on data science.

“While your organization is probably not going to turn into Google overnight, decisions and investments that you make today will dramatically affect your ability to adopt machine intelligence in the future. The future of work in Africa will be largely dependent on Data,” he noted, while advising that weaving modern AI advances into any organization requires executive commitment, deep technical understanding, new organizational capabilities, openness to experimentation and lots of data.

The DABConference, according to Mederios was convened out of the need to bring together the leading big data and business analytics across sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the primary aim of taking advantage of their data as intellectual property to make informed strategic business decisions.

“Now is the time for business leaders and policy makers in Africa to shift from making intuition-based decisions to making data-driven decisions that align with their organization,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Yemi Kale, Statistician General of the Federation, who was the Special Guest at the event, posited that Capital accumulation, labour productivity and technological innovation are the three main sources of growth in an economy like Nigeria.

He argues that technological innovation, driven largely by Data brings rapid innovation, and in the current fourth industrial revolution, technology has been largely driven by rapidly increasing volumes of data produced and consumed at a significant pace.

He said data plays key role in shaping almost every aspect of human life by providing clear, objective, numerical evidence about the population, economic performance, health and wellbeing, environment and aids the decision-making process to establish numerical benchmarks, monitor and evaluate the progress of policies or programmes and ensuring that our policy interventions are well designed.

“This is presently the case with Nigeria, where there are significant changes due to improved coordination at vertical (Federal) and horizontal (State) levels; increasing recognition of the importance of statistics and resurgence in the demand for data,” Dr. Yemi Kale, represented by Lola Talabi-Oni noted in a presentation titled ‘How technology and Big Data Has the Potential to Drive and Revolutionise Our Economy.’


The Future of Work depends on data

Automation forms one of the most critical parts of the future of work because it has the potential to replace 51% of jobs across multiple sectors that Africa is dependent on.

This is the submission of Chief Executive Officer of Fireside Analytics, Shingai Manjengwa.

She submitted: “Africa’s future of work story will be different from developed markets. With much of the workforce of tomorrow, we can program the requisite skills today by embracing Data Science.

“The big data market is worth an estimated USD$42 billion and Africans are well positioned to contribute significantly to this economy due to three factors, namely, favorable demographics; high and increasing internet penetration and changing education trends.”


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