DSN Bootcamp Trains 150 Nigerians on AI to Drive Financial Inclusion

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Emma Okonji
Data Science Nigeria (DSN), last week in Lagos assembled 150 Nigerians for training on Artificial Intelligence (AI) as part of efforts to have access to banks and credit facilities in the country.
The essence is to train Nigerians who will use unlimited data and the acquire AI knowledge to further drive financial inclusion in Nigeria.

According to the organisers of the DSN AI Bootcamp, Nigerians have been involved in so much of talking in the past, but now is the time to look at what technology tools can be leveraged to further drive financial inclusion in Nigeria.

Executive Director, SystemSpecs, Mr. Deremi Atanda, described AI as a dimension of technology that extends the human capacity to look through unlimited data and then develop machines with capacities to perform certain tasks, at a very fast rate, using the unlimited data.

“So the AI Bootcamp looked at how Nigerians could be trained in the area of AI and how the trained could use the knowledge of AI to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria, since majority of Nigerians are financially excluded. “Many Nigerians that are financially included and have bank accounts do not have savings plans, while many Nigerians that are bankable but are financially excluded, do not have access to credit facilities. So the AI Bootcamp wants to address all of these through the use of AI to generate sufficient data that could be analysed to solve the challenges,” Atanda said.

Convener, DSN Bootcamp, Mr. Olubayo Adekanmbi, said it was conceived to complement the initial skills that most of our startups acquired when they were in school. According to him, the current syllabus of our university system does not cover global contents in terms of technology evolution. So in order to bridge that gap, we decided to float DSN AI Bootcamp to further train Nigerians who have basic skills in computing, to enable them be at pal with their colleagues from other parts of the developed world.

He said:”We started by creating a study manual which was given to candidates to study for 90 days. After the 90 days of study, we did a quiz competition for all the over 10,000 students from 95 institutions of learning across the country that participated in the 90 days learning. We selected 150 candidates that did extremely well in the quiz and slated them for the five days Bootcamp training on AI.

“The essence is to train and raise quality students who can use Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to solve Nigeria challenges, create employment and develop solutions that will address specific challenges in the country, like financial inclusion challenges.

“Poverty is a serious challenge in Nigeria and the poor ones do not have access to funds and they are highly excluded from the digital inclusivity in the financial sector. So the candidates were also trained on how to use AI and ML to generate data that would be analysed to address the digital inclusion challenges of Nigeria.”

Speaking on Microsoft’s involvement, Adekambi said Microsoft was the lead sponsor, which was based on Microsoft’s commitment to capacity building to solve local challenges.

He said Microsoft flew in 10 leading global Data Scientist from different counties into Nigeria to train the 150 candidates shortlisted from among 10,000 candidates that participated in the five days intensive training in the DSN AI Bootcamp.