This year has seen Botswana data specialists either hosting or taking part in events that seek to unravel the importance of data analysis in this day and age. Stakeholders which include government, the colleges of higher learning and now the financial institutions are showing unprecedented interest in data issues. The local chapter of Standard Bank Africa group, Stanbic Bank has set the 27th of November as a date for a public lecture on a topic apply named: Digital and Data Transformation: The journey to the future.
Internationally acclaimed author on the disruptive analysis and theories Nicky Verd whose analysis of the 4th revolution “reminds us that there is no turning back. The world is changing, and it’s changing fast. What was science fiction of the past is becoming reality. Personal disruption is about how you choose to respond to what’s happening in the world.”
Other equally notable panellists include Botswana’s very own Professor Julius Atlhlopeng, who is the Chairman of the Open Data Open Sciences as well as the Dean in the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Botswana. Equally notable and proficient and popular in all UB functions that have data as a topic of discussion is Dr. Tshiamo Motshegwa, from the department of computer science at UB.
The president of the Data Administration Management Association (DAMA) of Southern Africa Howard Diesel will take part as one of the panellists as well as Hein Badenhorst who is a Technical Leader, Data and Artificial Intelligence at IB will sit as a panel and last but not least, Emmanuel Osanga, Head Enterprise Data Office at Standard Bank Africa will complete the least of panellists of the day.
Just in the month of November alone, Gaborone hosted two major conferences whose themes and topics involved data. The first was the VizAfrica 2019 which aimed to leverage on the success of the International Data Week (IDW) to continue the conversation on issues around Data Visualization relating to theory, policy, technology and practice. The theme of the symposium was “Application of data, Information and Scientific Visualization for Resource Management and Sustainability.”
Data, information and scientific visualization uses uncomplicated language to simplify things into concepts that can be easily grasped in graphical format enabling easy understanding insight and ability to understand cross-cutting complex issues and understanding patterns to inform formation of successful strategies and solutions.
Immediately after the conclusion of the Visualization Africa conference another similar symposium followed, The 2019 edition of the Pan-African health informatics conference (HELINA) which was held from 20th – 22nd November, 2019 at the University of Botswana Conference Center, Gaborone, Botswana.
The conference was also duly hosted by the University of Botswana (UB) e-Health Research Unit under the Department of Computer Science, Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW), Ministry of Transport and Communication (MTC), Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI), the Botswana Health Information Management Association (BoHIMA), with Support from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health First.
The 2019 HELINA conference focused on evidence to practice of digital health interventions to achieve universal health coverage (UHC). “Digital health is an enabler for equitable health care access, from clinical care to public health. This conference provides a platform to showcase digital health interventions that have not only shown benefits, but are also sustainable,” said a preamble on the conference data. For the first time Africa hosted the International Data Week (IDW) in Gaborone Botswana in 2018. As it seems, all roads lead to a data conference somewhere in the world, proving again that data is the new currency.