We will meet again, together, for the 3rd Deep Learning Indaba, proudly here in Nairobi. With each year, our self-confidence and self-ownership in the ongoing advances and impact of data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence becomes stronger–here in Kenya, in east Africa, and across our continent. Self-ownership is why we organise, why we continue to build an interconnected African community, and is what it means to Strengthen African Machine Learning. We are truly excited to welcome everyone for the next Indaba in a few weeks.

Our continent continues to face many difficulties, with many political and humanitarian challenges, like the crises in Sudan, Ethiopia or Algeria, or the fierce debate over the rights of LGBT African citizens in Kenya and Botswana. And all this is happening while we are also struggling with the challenges of work and careers for young people, and mitigating the risks of our climate crisis. Machine learning and artificial intelligence can play a positive role in addressing these problems. And we should take our place in solving them. The Indaba is an opportunity to take steps in these directions: as we learn about AI at the state of the art; as we learn to see how the work we do can be used to responsibly address our continent’s and world’s defining challenges; as we learn to do this together.

We are up to the challenge. In the last year we saw African leaders in AI rise up, organising IndabaX meetings in 26 different countries. We saw the past winners of the Kambule and Maathai awards go on to have greater impact and spread their work widely. We saw our friends and partners, like Data Science Africa, Data Science Nigeria, AI Saturdays, WiMLDS and AIMS, all go on to build stronger communities and deeper expertise. At the last Indaba our call to action was Masakhane–We Build Together. Masakhane is what we have done: our responsibility for uplifting our communities is as strong as it has ever been.

This year we say Sauti Yetu/Our Voice. Our voice can be strong; our voice can create change; we have many different voices that must be heard. We hope that you will use the Indaba as part of your voice. As the Indaba starts and then ends for this third year, we ask that all of us, together, raise our voice, to be more confident, to take more ownership, and to continue working towards the responsible technology that will help us build the next age of pan-African prosperity. 

Our Voice for Africa. Sauti Yetu kwa AI ya Afrika.