ACE Impact Partners with IBM to Offer STEM Training to Students

Enhancing STEM education in Africa has been one of the cores focuses of the ACE Impact project and it’s participating centres. The ACE Impact project has partnered with International Business Machines Corp (IBM) to build the capacity of centers through training workshops for ACE faculty and students on Artificial Intelligence, and Cloud Application  and providing student internship opportunities at IBM Research Labs in Kenya and South Africa.

This collaboration aims to ensure that students are gaining practical research experience and developing key advanced digital skills, which in turn will improve their employability, including their participation in the workforce as entrepreneurs. Since its inception in 2020, 110 faculty and students have benefited from the training workshops.

Concerning the internships, an initial set of 11 students will be selected for the first year. Students will carry out research in areas such as developing analytics and AI tools and methods; and creating cloud and blockchain solutions for health, climate risk, food supply chain and other domains. The selection process is underway and interviews with shortlisted applicants will take place in March 2022.

Highlighting the usefulness and benefits derived from the training, Mr. Patrick Hussaini, a student from the Africa Centre of Excellence for Mycotoxin and Food Safety (ACEMFS), Nigeria noted that the training on Artificial Intelligence that he participated in improved his knowledge and deepened his interest in that area. “The training has heightened my love for Artificial Intelligence such that I have picked up a master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Johannesburg, to enhance my understanding of the field. Additionally, it expanded my knowledge as I am now able to create a Chatbot using the IBM platform”, said Mr. Hussaini.

Speaking on the relevance of the training to industry needs, he added that the skills acquired is crucial to the African market, as it can help improve organizational processes and strengthen systems. The IBM Watson (application/software) for instance, simplifies the use of Machine Learning, Natural Language processing, creation of Chatbot and Computer Vision. Thereby automating complex processes and optimizing employee’s time.