Clouds of Data present an opportunity for African Researchers and scientists

Clouds of Data present an opportunity for African Researchers and scientists
As the cost of data storage goes down more data will be created.  The adoption of cloud computing will drive this phenomenon.  This will allow our researchers to use rich data available at a lower cost to solve most of Africa challenges while creating more opportunities. 

Data intensive research is changing the way African researchers can work and the impact they can have.  As a side issue, it is also opening up new career path in the field of data science.  

While the potential of big data in Africa undoubtedly opens up opportunities, the need for accurate information gathering is still a key link in the chain that ultimately can produce big data sets. 

When the Ebola epidemic spread through West Africa.  A Kenyan start-up created a reporting sms-based system called Echo mobile that allowed communities in Sierra Leone to alert the government on new infections.  Echo mobile would send the text sent by citizen and health workers to the central co-ordination unit that analysed data.   The data allowed the government to map the spread of Ebola and quickly respond to the new infection while at the same time managing the epidemic in the affected communities.  This is one example of many.

Big data holds infinite possibilities but also poses significant challenges.  Data privacy and protection are important elements of Big Data, and are still under developed in most of Africa.  Most countries still don’t have data protection and privacy laws in place.  This will stifle the innovation.  Through big data we can create first mover advantage, and more importantly leads to long term innovations.


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