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SA data science recruitment start-up to address UN

By , ITWeb
Africa , South Africa , 23 Sep 2022

Discussion centred on why community-driven and open-source data science and machine learning may be better than a top-down approach to address Africa's unique challenges.

South African start-up Zindi, which is touted as the biggest network for professional data scientists in Africa, will be leading a session at the 8th edition of the UN Science Summit under the theme of Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times, during the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA77) to be held in New York, USA.

The Zindi session titled The grassroots revolution driving data science in Africa, will be hosted by Celina Lee, Chief Executive and co-founder of Zindi, and will take place at 14:00 SAST (08:00 EST) on 26 September 2022.

Lee will be joined on the virtual stage by Jade Abbott, software engineer, data scientist and co-founder of Masakhane, a leading initiative in natural language processing in Africa; and Reem Elmahdi, machine learning engineer, Zindi ambassador and data science community leader from Sudan.

Celina Lee, Chief Executive and co-founder of Zindi.
Celina Lee, Chief Executive and co-founder of Zindi.

The panel will look at how Zindi is changing the way that data science is learnt and practised in Africa.

They will discuss why community-driven and open-source data science and machine learning may be better than a top-down approach to address Africa's unique challenges.

Zindi will use the platform to explain how it supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) of access to quality education and promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

The start-up company said that the role and contribution of science to attain the UN SDGs is the central theme of the UN Science Summit.

“The objective is to develop and launch science collaborations to demonstrate global science mechanisms and activities to support the attainment of the UN SDGs,” it added.

Lee said, “Demand for data science and data engineering skills is exploding, and communities across Africa are collaborating to fill the gaps left by government and academia in developing talent and solutions to meet this demand. Organisations like Zindi and Masakhane are providing an entire generation of aspiring young people with the tools and opportunities they need to get ahead in rapidly changing and highly competitive field.”

Zindi was established in Cape Town in 2018 with the aim to make data science and artificial intelligence (AI) skills accessible to companies in Africa.

The company said its network includes 36 000 data scientists registered on the platform, representing over 160 countries worldwide.

Zindi added that its value proposition is to help data practitioners of all levels access tutorials and mentors to build their practical skills, and virtually participate in data science competitions. They are also able to apply for jobs using their CV on the company’s platform and connect with a broader community of practice.

Lee added, “It is critical that business take an active role in supporting their existing workforces through reskilling and upskilling, that individuals take a pro-active approach to their own lifelong learning, and that governments create an enabling environment to facilitate this workforce transformation. This is the key challenge of our time, and it is an honour for Zindi to be joining eminent scientists, innovative thinkers and policy and other decision makers from across the globe at the Science Summit next week.” 

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