As a Ghanaian machine learning practitioner in the United States, I’m constantly searching for ways to contribute to capacity building efforts in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Africa. When I stumbled upon the Deep Learning Indaba in 2018, I couldn’t help but join forces with this great organisation to promote their noble mission—strengthening Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in Africa by building communities and creating leadership. Since 2019, with the help of the leadership of this group, we have organised IndabaX Ghana events each year, with some of you in attendance. We can’t wait to welcome many more of you to Accra in 55 days for the Deep Learning Indaba! You are in for a treat!

Ghana is a vibrant country, rich in culture, history and natural beauty. The country has several historical attractions drawing hundreds of visitors each year, including the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, Aburi Botanical Garden, Wli Waterfalls, Cape Coast Castle, Kakum National Park and many more. You’ll also get a chance to indulge in Ghanaian cuisine such as jollof rice and fufu with various types of soup. Of course, shopping enthusiasts will have plenty of places to visit and buy gifts for their loved ones. I am also confident the countless beautiful beaches in Accra (if you have time to visit any of them) will provide even more inspiration for more research ideas! Above all, you will experience the famous Ghanaian hospitality.

This year, our Indaba theme is YƐbƐtumi, which is an Akan phrase for “we can” or “we can do it.” Since 2017, the Deep Learning Indaba has embarked on a journey of immense significance, one that is only possible by an unquestionable can-do spirit. As Africa’s formidable community of ML and AI students, researchers and practitioners, we stand united by a powerful belief—“we can do it.” We can harness the immense potential of AI to foster progress and prosperity in Africa, ensuring that our continent is not left behind but instead leads the way for groundbreaking advancements. YƐbƐtumi!

As practitioners in this ever-evolving field, we find ourselves at the forefront of a technological revolution that has the potential to reshape societies and revolutionise industries. The promise of artificial intelligence is boundless, offering us a gateway to transformative solutions for the challenges facing Africa. However, for AI to truly benefit Africa, it is our collective responsibility to rise to the occasion and seize any and all opportunities with hope and unwavering determination.

By many metrics, Africa possesses incredible untapped potential, including its youthful population who are poised and eager to make a difference in the world. It is time for us to harness that potential through ML and AI. With the power of innovation, we can overcome the hurdles that have hindered our progress, whether it be in healthcare, agriculture, education, or any other vital sector. We can leverage AI to create smarter, more efficient solutions that address pressing issues, improve livelihoods, and empower our communities. 

Let’s remember that the path to success won’t be without challenges. We will face limited resources, varying degrees of infrastructure, and unique contextual complexities. Yet, it is precisely these challenges that call us to action, to find innovative approaches that are tailored to our African context. It is in overcoming these challenges that we will unlock the true potential of AI for Africa.

By uniting our strengths and pooling our knowledge and resources, we can accelerate progress and amplify our impact. As we prepare to gather in Accra for the 2023 Indaba, let us foster an environment of knowledge sharing, collaboration, and mentorship to empower the next generation of African researchers in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

YƐbƐtumi! We can do it! 

– Delali Agbenyegah, 2023 General Chair. July 2023.