As part of its 10th anniversary, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) Ghana has held a first-of-its-kind industry and academia forum aimed at helping graduates go into industry at the Google office, Accra. 

The event was themed, “Building Africa’s transformative leaders for the 4th industrial revolution: The role of mathematics and its applications.”

A current student of AIMS, Ms. Doreen Appiah teased the minds of the audience with a Spoken Word on STEM which highlighted perceptions about how people only put mathematics in the space of data analysis but insisted the goal of maths is to solve real-life issues as evidenced by the models developed to provide cures for epidemics such as the Covid-19.

In a welcome address, the COO of AIMS, Ms. Adelaide Asante underlined the importance of the forum which forms part of the 10th anniversary of AIMS Ghana.

AIMS Ghana holds Industry and Academia Forum 2022

She said the forum aimed to demonstrate the impact of maths in various sectors of the economy, the role of universities in training, and research, and also to showcase the success stories of AIMS Ghana in industry and academia.

Rich in anecdote, the keynote speaker, Mr. Ras Boateng, the CEO of Pensions Alliance Trust, asserted that maths and STEM have been with us since creation. 

“Maths is fundamental to everything we do, maths is the omnipresent academic discipline.”

Ras Boateng unveiled a T-shirt with the words, “And God said, let there be light. Until God decoded how to produce light, the world was in darkness. I propose to you, that God the almighty must be a mathematician. He gives form to the formless and structure to the unstructured.”

This was followed by a fascinating panel discussion that focused on “The role of technology and maths in building a resilient economic ecosystem.”

AIMS Ghana holds Industry and Academia Forum 2022

Addressing concerns on data loss and downtime, Stephen Kwaku Amponsah of the Collateral Registry, Bank of Ghana, and an alumnus of AIMS said “there must be controls in place when these risks crystalise as well as remediations in place when data loss occurs.”

Fielding questions on maths phobia and maths presentation, a former lecturer of AIMS, Dr. Edward Prempeh, Coordinator of the Kessben University said there is a need for improvement on how maths ideas are transmitted to students.

“If we can make it easy with the basic language we use, then it will be easy for students to understand maths and remove maths phobia. Make it practical for people to understand,” he noted.

Contributing to another panel discussion on the “Importance of mathematics training in health and energy technologies”, Prof. Nick Monk, Professor of Statistics, University of Sheffield said the world was able to deal with Covid due to the models already established by mathematicians in the area of infectious diseases. 

“To develop a new drug, you need one billion dollars and it is all down to mathematics. If one can develop a model for the drug development, it may cut down the cost.”

Seidu Tahiru, Global Head of Data and Analytics, Mpharma, highlighted how his former outfit employed maths techniques to map 250 communities to know the chronic diseases that are prevalent in every community. 

AIMS Ghana holds Industry and Academia Forum 2022

On her part, Ms. Lovelyn Keteku, Acting Lead, 4th Zipline Distribution Centre stressed the role of technology in rapid response to emergencies to save lives. 

There were contributions from Dr. Alex Somto Arinze Alochukwu of the University of Johannesburg, a Director of impact Group of Companies Mr. Giles Tetteh, and Dr. Joseph Essandoh- Yeddu, Lead Technical Partner for UNEP Project on Electric Vehicles and Climate Smart Agriculture.

In a remark, the Centre President of AIMS Ghana, Dr. Prince K. Osei expressed his delight at the discussions that had taken place including but not restricted to improving the way maths is taught in schools to the link to maths in different fields such as AI and the arts.

“One of the main pillars AIMS is built on, is that the capacity to develop and innovate is not peculiar to a particular people. Africa has been left out. We want Africa to play a leading role. 

“It is amazing how AIMS has contributed to this because our graduates are steeped in mathematical science. The Government of Ghana, the Canadian government, the German government, Google, Facebook, University Partners – KNUST, UG, UCC- and other donors have supported us.” 

The event brought together alumni of AIMS Ghana, academia, and industry.