Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman Econet Wireless, and Dr Njenga, Dean Strathmore Business School, left Ben Roberts, CTIO Liquid Telecom
Leading pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of Econet Global, has partnered with Strathmore Business School (SBS), the graduate business school of Strathmore University, to launch a new data analytics centre focused on data-driven research and practices for African businesses.
Under the partnership, Liquid Telecom will provide the new Strathmore Africa Analytics Data Centre with dedicated rack space and colocation services at East Africa Data Centre (EADC); the region’s largest and only Tier III certified data centre.
Liquid Telecom will also establish a direct fibre link between the SBS campus and EADC in Nairobi, which will facilitate data analytic services such as data mining, predictive analysis and exploratory data analysis.
The Strathmore Business School already works with a range of high-profile public and private organisations including Microsoft, IBM, Google, Deloitte, World Bank and the Kenyan government, which will now be better served through the additional capabilities of the new data analytics centre.
Liquid Telecom will support SBS as it looks to grow its customer base, enabling businesses in the region to tap into the growing opportunities presented by Big Data, while establishing Nairobi as a centre of innovation, excellence and training for data analytics.
“A data revolution is coming to Africa, bringing with it the need for new skills and infrastructure to help businesses unlock the true potential of Big Data. By providing Strathmore Business School with access to our world-class facilities at EADC, we hope to provide a platform for innovation in analytics as well as develop joint solutions to some of the challenges being presented by large volumes of data on consumers,” said Dan Kwach, General Manager at EADC.
“Businesses in Africa now have a lot of data about their customers and their buying behaviour. So far a lack of skills in data science has prevented businesses from using that data for strategic decision making. Through this partnership, Liquid Telecom and SBS will help provide companies with the tools and learning they need to achieve real improvements in performance,” said Ben Roberts, Group Chief Technology and Innovation Officer (CTIO) at Liquid Telecom.
Increasing collaboration between industry and academia will be key to both unlocking the opportunities and addressing the challenges of Big Data in Africa.
Through the new Strathmore Africa Business Analytic Data Centre, SBS aims to develop a world class environment for training, skills enhancement and application of data in Africa policy, innovation and business decision-making.
“Strathmore envisions a data centre that will cultivate data analytics to help executive entrepreneurs and government make data-driven decisions. We feel it is our moral duty to include new data modules into the entire curriculum of our university,” said Dr George Njenga, Dean Strathmore Business School.
“Through our partnership with Liquid Telecom and access to world-class facilities at EADC, students at SBS and Strathmore University will be able to harness the power of new technologies to solve some of the region’s oldest problems, demonstrating the power of partnership in the era of the data revolution,” said Rosemary Okello-Orlale, Director of Africa Media Hub at SBS. “We hope to also spread data driven development to the poorest and most remote communities, improving outcomes for all.”
Liquid Telecom is also driving adoption of data science through its involvement with the DataHack for Financial Inclusion (DataHack4FI) competition; an initiative by insight2impact (i2i) focused on using data science to improve financial inclusion. Liquid Telecom is offering free high-speed internet access and cloud-based services throughout the competition, as well as providing experts to advise entrants on how to make best use of Liquid Telecom products and services.
Liquid Telecom is currently expanding its award-winning East Africa Data Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, which houses 2,000 square metres of secured space for data servers over four floors. Along with further expansion of its two state-of-the-art data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Africa Data Centres are home to fibre routes of many major carriers, MNOs, cloud service providers and financial institutions.
Last year, Strathmore Business School established The Africa Media Hub to develop professional skills among the existing and up-coming journalists, communications experts and other professionals in providing in-depth data analysis, ambitious experts coverage of critical issues related to the global economy and business using data visualisation.
Strathmore University is in final discussions with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Data (GPSDD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOs) and the founding partner in the Open Data Cube (ODC) to host the Africa Regional Data Cubes (ARDC). The ARDC aims to apply Earth Observations (EO) satellite data to address local and national need as well as meet the objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development. It will support five African countries, including Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Tanzania.