The Indaba’23

Similoluwa Fiyinfoluwa
3 min readSep 21, 2023


The Deep Learning Indaba; a conference that blends cutting-edge AI research with vibrant cultural experiences, all set against the backdrop of Accra, Ghana.

Now, I’m here to share a not-too-serious take on my unforgettable experience at this remarkable event.

Accra welcomed us with open arms and, more importantly, open hearts. The Deep Learning Indaba wasn’t just about neural networks and algorithms; it was also a celebration of African culture. From the lively rhythms of highlife music to the aromatic temptations of street food stalls, the cultural infusion was nothing short of captivating.

The core days of the Indaba were a deep dive into the world of AI. Sessions were a combination of practicals , workshops, keynote and fireside chats, panel discussions. From the opening talk by Kevin Murphy on The Four(4) Pillars of Machine Learning to the keynote talk by Rosanne Liu on A Self-Serving Approach to Living A Good Life As A Researcher but the real magic happened during coffee breaks and networking events. I discovered that Ghanaians are some of the friendliest folks on the planet. You’d strike up a conversation about convolutional neural networks and end up discussing the latest trends in Afrobeat music.

Kevin Murphy
Rosanne Liu

We also had mentorship sessions with breakfast. Mentors took complex concepts and made them digestible, even for those of us still finding our footing in the field. This inclusivity allowed everyone to engage, learn, and contribute.

Speaking of culinary adventures, the ongoing debate over the best Jollof rice continued at the conference. I had the opportunity to eat Ghanaian Jollof rice, and while it was a delightful experience, I must admit that as a proud Nigerian, I still hold a special place in my heart for Nigerian Jollof.

Poster sessions at conferences can be a tad dry, but not at the Indaba. It was a space filled with enthusiastic researchers, each passionately explaining their AI project, fostering engaging discussions and sparking new ideas. You’d think it was a science fair for adults, and the excitement was contagious. These sessions were not just about presenting research findings but also about building connections, receiving feedback, and inspiring collaborative projects that could drive AI forward in Africa.

I even considered pitching my idea for AI-powered fufu pounding — the ultimate blend of tech and tradition!

Poster by Bernard Ng

It was inspiring to see so many individuals, from students to seasoned professionals, come together to explore the potential of AI in Africa.

One of the most invaluable aspects of the Deep Learning Indaba was the opportunity to network with fellow AI enthusiasts, researchers, and professionals from across Africa and beyond. The sense of unity and shared purpose was palpable, as we all exchanged ideas and experiences during coffee breaks and social events.

In the end, the Deep Learning Indaba in Ghana was a delightful blend of serious AI discussions and lighthearted cultural immersion. It reminded me that conferences aren’t just about learning; they’re about exploring, connecting, and, most importantly, enjoying the journey. I left Accra with a head full of knowledge, a heart full of fond memories, and a newfound love for rice.

Big shoutout to Busayor, Steven Kolawole, Mardiyyah Oduwole, Abraham Owodunni for making DLI a dream come through, y’all are the best!❤

Until next year’s Indaba,