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Opinions of Sunday, 29 September 2019

Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah

Mustapha Diyaol Haqq, A beneficiary of Bluecrest College presidential scholarship award

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Mustapha Diyaol Haqq, a young Ghanaian app developer was among 40 students who received scholarships to study at BlueCrest College (BCC), Accra.

We reproduce below Mustapha’s response at the scholarship awards ceremony held on 30th August 2019 at the BCC auditorium. The Chairperson, Honourable members of the high table, members of staff present, invited guests, fellow students, ladies and gentlemen.

Good afternoon to you all.

I am extremely humbled to be a recipient of this special award. I am grateful to the Scholarship team of BlueCrest College for giving me this opportunity to further my education in this noble institution.

This is my story…

Inspired by global technological success stories, from the likes of tech giants like Facebook, to the achievements of young talented people, especially people of colour like Iddris Sandu, 15 year old me decided to do something I had never seen anyone in my community do; walk miles to an internet café to teach myself how to code.

After a year, I created an app to help myself and my classmates pronounce biological terms better. I created a website to connect teenagers around the world to form safer and meaningful friendships. And a lot more fun stuff.

Three years down the line, I built a predictive analytic model that leverages machine learning, a subset of Artificial Intelligence to diagnose and predict breast cancer, which earned me one of the six Most Influential Students of the Year Award in 2018.

We are currently working on improving our model and releasing it for use by hospitals and research centers across Africa, later this year or early next year. The app will enable faster, accurate and cheaper diagnosis of breast cancer among women and save the lives of many of our mothers.

Part of my research on Artificial Intelligence led us to develop an AI curriculum for kids. Kids in Ghana have already started learning AI and Machine Learning as a result of our work. Machine Learning is one of the most exciting technologies in our world today.

A tech enabled community like BlueCrest College will empower me to explore other areas of technology, combined with what I’m doing.

I believe we will have a greater impact on our communities.

In 2018, I co-founded Okuafo Foundation, an NGO, with the mission of helping farmers produce more by cutting down on disease infestations through applied AI research.

The Chairperson, Honourable members of the high table, members of staff present, invited guests, fellow students, ladies and gentlemen.

My name is Mustapha Diyaol Haqq and I define myself as a 19 year old revolutionary dreamer walking the path my ancestors paved. Thank you.

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