The Python Nigeria community, a non-profit association with over 5,000 members that holds the intellectual property rights behind the Python programming language, is seeking to connect with industry in Nigeria to showcase its deep talent and skills.

This was disclosed by Pius Okigbo Jr., Chairperson of the Python Nigeria Community, at the plenary of its first PyCon Nigeria 2020 2-day virtual conference, which end on Wednesday, December 9th. The conference theme was fittingly, “Bridging the Sustainability Development Gap: Developing Sustainable Solution in a Post COVID-19 era.”

According to Mr. Okigbo, connecting and linking the community to industry represents a sustainable development approach to create value-added solutions that ultimately will lead to increased job opportunities and wealth creation.

“This year’s programme has been deliberately designed and packaged with the intent to connect our community to industry, share trending and innovative ideas, find ways to inspire our youth and celebrate our talent,” he said.

This, Mr. Okigbo said, a former President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), is the reason why powerhouse corporations and foundations—MTN, UBA Foundation, KPMG, Africa Fintech Foundry and the Tony Elumelu Foundation—sponsored, and partnered with, the PyCon Nigeria 2020 virtual conference.

Lorena Mesa, the Chairperson of the PSF, in her keynote address highlighted what the Foundation is doing to connect communities, especially in Africa. According to her, “the Foundation as part of its mission is to promote, protect, and advance the Python programming language to continue to develop programming skills and software development capacity in Africa.”

She said the Foundation supports and facilitates the growth of a diverse and inclusive community of Python programmers that are being spearheaded by local groups, individuals and initiatives working at grassroots level across Africa.

Following Lorena Mesa’s keynote, Ewa Jadlowska, Executive Director at PSF, in her keynote presentation on the second day, highlighted the massive impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on their revenue in 2020.

Guido van Rossum, the creator of the python programming language 29 years ago, in his welcome address expressed delight in being part of the PyCon Nigeria 2020 conference. Microsoft Corporation, in a recent press release, announced that Guido van Rossum had “unretired” to join the Microsoft Developer Division, “in its committed effort to contribute to and grow with the Python community.”

Wes McKinney on the second day of the conference, also delivered a welcome address and talked about his journey in creating the Pandas library for data analysis in 2008, and made reference to his new project, Apache Arrow.

Beyond the technical glitches in the morning of the first day, the conference delivered on its strategic emphasis evidenced by what Mr. Okigbo referred to as a “rich gathering of speakers.” Dr. Sakinat Folorunso, a senior lecturer at Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU, kicked-off the Day-1 sessions with a presentation about her joy in teaching artificial intelligence and machine learning, and touched on her research interests.

Dr. Folorunso was followed by Ifeoma Okafor-Obi, the Director of Operation, Tony Elumelu Foundation, who she elaborated on the Foundation’s drive to build value-added entrepreneurship programs in Africa and offered a path for the Python Nigeria community to exploit.

The General Manager and Head of Digital Banking of UBA Plc, Sampson Aneke, represented the UBA Foundation and discussed the inevitable and seismic shift that is occurring in the banking sector through software technology.

Yomi Akinyemi of KPMP delivered a powerful presentation on the drive for hiring python talent with data science skills to address the demands of their clients and what the python Nigeria community must do to meet its requirement for talent. Finally, the young MTN duo of presenters detailed the immense work they did with python tools to handle their day-to-day operations.

The topics on Day-2 covered areas in Django, data analysis, artificial intelligence (AI), data science, machine learning, neural networks, python development optimisation, and for the first time, GeoAI—AI and geographic information systems.

In all, the PyCon Nigeria 2020 virtual conference was as “enriching and engaging” as promised by the organisers in seeking sustainable development solutions in a post Covid-19 era.


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