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The level of knowledge and understanding of Statistics as well as Statistical programming is woefully low in Africa, As a Ghanaian and a Statistician, I found it very intrigueing to see university undergraduate in Statistics who have little or no knowledge about the career opportunities in Statistics. The recruitment commmunity in Africa hardly mention the word statistics or Statistician, but the jobs specs of most analytical opportunities begs for the skill of a professional statistician.
The question therefore is, what can we those already trained and working abroad do to help improve the image of our profession in Africa?

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It's not so much an image of issue as it likely is an economic issue. Even here in the USA the machine-learning generation, software engineers with some training in statistics and mathematics (especially automated statistical parsing - not the classic statistician’s role) seem to be getting the lion' share of the attention in hiring. Particularly at the entry level.

in the end, automated statistical parsing is still recommending purses after purse purchases and asking "do you want fries with those fries?". it is pathetic, and mostly driven by the cost-per-click model so prevalent in most online content communities for whom advertising dollars are the only revenue in sight. Moves toward cost-per-action (actual non-returned goods as purchases) will help, but don't expect Google, MSN, Bing, and Yahoo to move quickly on that one. CPC is their "golden goose" and they aren't about to kill it for a single goose dinner!

So, think about statistical consulting vs. online statistical parsing, then note the job descriptions. I suspect the real statistical leads are hidden within practitioner solicitations (wildlife biologists, pharmaceutical biologists, applied mathematicians, consulting engineers, etc)

In the end, if statistical inference were JUST about machine-learning why wouldn't giants like Marvin Minsky, Richard Greenblat, and Peter Deutsch (and the rest of the 1960's TMRRC students at MIT) have licked it back then? Don't quote RAM, cycles, and Moore's law to me either. They didn't because all problem solution is contextual, not context-free, "the-answer-must-be-in-this-"data"-somewhere" notion as the machine-learners are learning today (if they have a lick of training about true heuristics, and have their eyes open to the real-world instead of their index-pointers).

When inference is required, it's STATISTICIAN's to the rescue. if it's supplying temporary lift in any performance measure, incremental sales boosts, better coverage of some social.Net (all low-hanging fruit in industry jargon"), count on the lead going to an entry level machine-learning student these days rather than an experienced professional statistician. Good luck.

Do you really know what statistics is about? I am confused as your response has little bearing to the topic under discussion
If the question therefore is, what can we those already trained and working abroad do to help improve the image of our profession in Africa? Then the simple answer is let people like you who have the exposure to what statistics and statisticians stand for to go back to Africa and sensitize the people and government.
While I've never been in Africa (I'd like to visit this continent though), I've spent my PhD years sharing an office in Namur, Belgium, with a Burundi PhD candidate (he's now working for the Belgian government). I think Central / South Africa could attract more great statisticians if you market the advantages of living in Africa: great quality of life, great social life, palm trees, no more rat race, etc. This would appeal to quite a few people, even from the Western world.
I would like to formally invite you to visit Ghana as a first experience of visiting Africa!!!
When are you plaaning to come back to Africa????????????????
how has your search for funding gone? Please let me know, I have a couple of friends in vintage positions who might be able to help
As an update, I am currently in Ghana setting up a Consultancy to help train graduate students in the area of medical statistics and to develop courses in SAS programming. The overall aim is to be able to create a greater awareness in statistics/ statistical programming and also to define the vast career opportunities and paths for someone with statistical skills and knowledge. I started this project in 2007, and it is taking roots.
If anyone in the network is interested in knowing more and see how they can help with their knowledge and experience, you are gladly welcome, and to add to it, Ghana is a lovely country; President Obama will tell you more!!
Hi Damoah,

This is Biswajit from India, We really appreciate your initiative to srengthen Analytical infrastructure/Skill for your Country. One my my concern is aligning the disciplined with a Software Tool like SAS, will be limited to only & captive to SAS. You may devlop curriculum of Statistics with integration with the application i.e. BIO STATISTICS,MEDICAL STATISTICS,HEALTH STATISTICS,CLINICAL TRIAL and so on and may use differant tool in order to exposing the participants with the available software tool will result to larger scope in terms knowledge & employment opportunities for the aspirants.

If we can be any your assistance please let us know.

Thanks !
Hi Biswajit,
Thanks for your comments. The reason for starting with SAS is that, it is the software that I have enough resouces available at the moment, personally, I do programme in STATA, S-PLUS/R, SPSS, and JMP, but I dont have enough resources on them as I have for SAS.
My overall aim is to train graduates in statistics and statistical programming, so if anyone has help in any programme, I will very much appreciate.
Hi Kwak,

I am pleased to inform you that, We have various enagagement /colloboration possibilities to strengthen your analytical infrastructure.If you would like to explore, you can reach me [email protected]

Thanks !


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