As part of its commitment towards empowering and enabling the local tech ecosystem, West Africa’s leading connectivity and data centre solutions provider, MainOne, partners with Data Science Nigeria (DSN) to be the official broadband provider for its Artificial Intelligence Hub, the first of its kind in Nigeria, located in Yaba, Lagos.
MainOne Nigeria has been on the frontline of democratizing broadband internet, driven by a strong conviction that access to the internet can become a transformational driver of economic growth, job creation and social inclusion. MainOne’s corporate position is well aligned with an independent study cited by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) explaining that a 10 percent increase in broadband penetration results in increased efficiency and an increase in per-capita Gross Domestic Product of up to 1.38 percent.
The availability of broadband internet at the AI Hub will open up new possibilities in advanced academic research, tech-enabled entrepreneurship, socio-developmental innovations, access to real-time data and cloud-based algorithm platforms for developing data-driven solutions.
Recently, MainOne kicked off its Digital Lagos project to build robust broadband infrastructure across the city. The provision of free broadband internet to the AI Hub is a further reinforcement of the company’s commitment to build broadband infrastructure and to upscale the human capacity required to leverage the infrastructure in developing digital solutions that catalyze productivity and accelerate socio-economic innovation through the application of artificial intelligence.
Data Science Nigeria runs the AI Hub as part of its strategy to build an inclusive ecosystem for sustainable capacity building in AI knowledge and application. In the last two years, Data Science Nigeria has distinguished itself through its transformational initiatives including the 1st Intercampus Machine Learning Competition. This involved over 10,000 students from 95 universities and polytechnics, created a dedicated Artificial Intelligence Community Hub, AI Summer Schools for Kids, AI Masterclass sessions for top business executives in Nigeria, industry-oriented hackathons, AI Start-up support, PhD researchers mentoring students through a global network of world-class AI experts, direct job placement, learning-based Kaggle competitions, the development of Nigeria-centric machine learning/deep learning curriculum/online learning platform, AI+ Clubs in secondary schools, Artificial Intelligence Bootcamps, and dial-in masterclasses facilitated by leading global data scientists.
Funke Opeke, the CEO of MainOne stated, “As providers of connectivity for Yabacon and drivers of ubiquitous broadband connectivity across Lagos State through our Digital Lagos initiative, we are proud to partner with AI Hub as they continue to work towards job creation, digital security and AI capacity building for the future. We recognize the unique role that unlimited broadband plays as a catalyst for ideation, innovation and global collaboration. Thus, reaffirming our position to contribute to the growth of the Nigerian tech ecosystem”.
Commenting on this laudable opportunity given to the AI Hub, Bayo Adekanmbi, the convener of Data Science Nigeria, points out that, “with the unlimited broadband internet MainOne provided to the AI Hub, we are well-positioned to become a world-class artificial intelligence knowledge, research and innovation ecosystem that delivers transformational research, business use applications, AI-first start-ups, and social good uses that will position Nigeria as one of the top 10 AI talent/knowledge destinations in the world. Our vision to raise one million AI talents in 10 years has been given a further impetus and support with this magnanimous access from MainOne. Now, there is nothing stopping us.”
Since 2011, MainOne has supported and empowered the efforts of other hubs and accelerators such as; Co-Creation Hub, IDEA Hub, Decagon, Edo State Innovation Hub, Legacy Offices and Workspace, amongst others.
The AI Hub is located on the 4th floor of 174b Murtala Muhammed Way, Yaba. It offers free AI classes, and a library, mini-research lab, and community meet-up.
The broadband internet at the AI Hub will be available for the various free daily classes at the hub under the umbrella of AI. Everyday. It will also be used by research students, AI-first startups working in the areas of financial inclusion, healthcare, agriculture, personalized education, and all the AI+ student members who frequent the hub for study and research.
Nigerian startups raised $377m in 2019, more than twice what they did in 2018. Find out more when you download the full report.