It will not be surprising that across our African continent, machine learning is being developed and deployed in ways both fundamental and transformative. In both research and applications, African innovators continue to enhance our knowledge, and address the intractable challenges facing our societies and people: whether these be in the mathematical underpinnings of reasoning and control; in developing solutions for food security, public health, and water and disease management; or in unravelling the mysteries of the universe. We celebrate the success of these African Artificial Intelligence innovators. And to do this, we introduce two new awards, the Kambule and Maathai awards, which recognise excellence in the research and applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence by African researchers and technologists.
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Today we celebrate an anniversary: the Deep Learning Indaba was formed during this week one year ago, with a mission to strengthen African machine learning. Our first Indaba was held in September 2017, and was everything we had hoped for. We saw the creation of a new community, one united by a shared commitment to science and learning, and the potential it has to transform our societies for the better. We executed a technical programme of sharing, teaching and debate around the state-of-the-art in modern machine learning, whose mastery is essential in ensuring that we as Africans become, not just users and receivers, but contributors, shapers and owners of the global advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence. We saw Africans, from across the continent and in all its diversity, represented and included. And a few months later, we saw 20 of our participants at the NIPS conference for their first time.