There is a worrisome low level use and handling of big data in Africa, Mr. Oyebimoe Adeniji, the President of West African Young Statisticians lamented recently.
While addressing participants at a four-day training and workshop organised by West African Young Statisticians Association (WAYSA) in collaboration with Statistical Modelling Group (SMG) of the Department of Statistics, University of Ibadan, recently, Africans werenot paying enough attention to the revolution in the science of data.
Speaking on the topic “Big data analytics and data visualization with JMP-SAS software”, Adeniji pointed out that the trending belief in the developed world is that “the sexiest job of the next decade is data science because almost every sector is now driven by data.
“It is however, pitiably worrisome that the African continent at large has been lagging behind in catching up with this trend of big data handling techniques” he said. “Many have really not given much attention to this revolution in the science of data even though data happens now to be the most valuable commodity.”
The WAYSA president also regretted that the African academia to were lackadaisical as far as developing concise school-based curriculum for data science courses at universities was concerned. According to him, “the little patches of data science education prevalent today in mainstream learning have been in the hands of seminar organizers, who more or less seek to get profit by offering these short courses to intending learners.”
On how WAYSA was formed, Adeniji explained that “in 2016, a number of us, young statisticians from West Africa came together at the SADA 16 event in Cotonou, Republic of Benin and reached a decision to form a regional powerhouse for the enhancement of sound statistical education with special attention to data analytics.
“This successfully gave birth to the West African Young Statisticians Association (WAYSA). And since then, we have been able to form alliances with some notable data analytics software producers in the world like SAS Inc”.
Professor Ismail Olanrewaju Shittu of the Department of Statistics, University of Ibadan, in his address stated that data analysis wasan essential element of any research.
His words: “As we all know, data analysis is an essential element of any research. It is the only tool that can help to make data speak. This important aspect of research has been made simpler by the use of computer with its relative advantages of speed, accuracy and its capacity to handle large volume of data.
“This has made it imperative to acquire necessary skills to handle data particularly high frequency data with specialized software”.
Vice President of American Statistical Association, Professor Richard De Veaux in his message to the workshop participants urged them to see the workshop as a tool to enhance their work as statisticians.