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Data Science in Africa (DS-I Africa) Coordinating Centre Team in Kigali, Rwanda to Attend the Data Science Africa Event and Site Visit

Submitted by tinomuzambi on

The Coordinating Centre team including Francis Agamah, Tino Muzambi and Tanian Natus led by Michelle Skelton had the opportunity to attend the Data Science Africa Summer School and Workshop between 8-13 May 2023 at the University of Rwanda Gikondo Campus.

We are very pleased to have connected with the Data Science Africa Community that have now hosted eleven such events in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Rwanda. The overall event was attended by about 300 delegates and about 20 facilitators and Speakers.

DSA Summer School (8-10 May) highlights

The summer school comprised of an Artificial Intelligence Track as well as a Data Science Track. Participants chose between the two and a variety of topics were covered including R Programming, Python Programming, Linear Algebra, Natural Language Processing, Computer Vision, and Data Storytelling to name a few. These sessions took the format of a lecture followed by a hands-on lab which allowed participants to ensure they became familiar with the concepts. The summer school concluded on day three with plenary sessions which covered Machine Learning Operations, AI/Machine Learning Model deployment as well as Data-oriented Architecture and Real-World Machine Learning Systems.

        two individuals standing beside a banner       three individuals standing besides a banner

Figure 1: Tino Muzambi, Edgar Ssensalo and Francis Agamah at the DSA Summer School

On Thursday 11 May, we had a chance to meet with Cirra Maina  - Chair of DSA ( Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Kenya), Moses Thiga (Kabarak University, Kenya), Charles Ruranga, (The Director of African Center of Excellence for Data Science, University of Rwanda), Charles Nzaramyimana (Project Administrator for Post Graduate Studies and Research at African Centre of Excellence in Data Science, University of Rwanda), Morine Amutorine (UN Global Pulse, Kampala), Neil Lawrence (University of Cambridge) and Andrew Katumba (Makarere University).

Data Science Africa is passionate about building capacity in data science and emerging fields like AI toward improving the quality of life in Africa, filling severe gaps in health, agriculture, and other industries.

We hope to engage with the Data Science Africa Community at the upcoming in person meetings including Deep Learning Indaba in Accra (University of Ghana) and the 3rd DS-I Africa Consortium Meeting in Kigali (3-10 November) and our many online forums.

Site Visit in preparation for the DS-I Africa Consortium Meeting 3-10 November 2023

We stayed in the Akabeza district in KN3 Avenue at the Serena Hotel. There are several popular hotels in walking distance from each other including the Marriott and the Four Points by Sheraton. The Serena Hotel is based on a very large property hosting a ballroom (capacity 800), an auditorium (400), an outdoor Marquee set in a lush garden and 200 bedrooms over 5 floors. It has an amazing pool area and gym. The main restaurant food is well representative of local and international cuisine.

Navigating our way in Kigali is interesting. We needed to find our way to the University of Rwanda SBF Centre and indicated to the reception we needed to get KKK878 street and yet we still found ourselves at Kicukiro Campus with the hotel transport. Our advice: please ask for assistance from our local colleagues to help with navigation. Tino had a great time getting around with the boda boda rides (motorcycles), they are very agile at getting around Kigali.

Kigali is a beautiful, clean, and safe city. While walking we were very safe and were not bothered by anyone on the street except for the occasional polite greeting.

Before we left, we had an opportunity to meet with Dr David Tumusiime and Celestin Twizere. We look forward to planning the upcoming Consortium meeting and hope to host some activities at the University of Rwanda.

University of Rwanda has about 9 campuses.

  1. Nyagatare Campus (Eastern Province)
  2. Nyarugenge Campus (Kigali City)
  3. Gikondo Campus (Kigali City)
  4. Busogo Campus (Northern Province)
  5. Remera Campus (Kigali City)
  6. Rukara Campus (Eastern province) 
  7. Rwamagana Campus (Eastern province) 
  8. Rusizi Campus (Western province) 
  9. Huye Campus (Southern province)

Fun Fact: The Basketball Africa League play offs was held at the BK Arena 20-27 May – unfortunately we missed it!

Authors: Michelle Skelton, Francis Agamah, Tino Muzambi and Tanian Natus

Acknowledgements: Harnessing Data Science and Innovation for Health Discovery in Africa NIH funded Initiative Grant eLwazi ODSP CC U2CEB032224