A young Somali scientist and researcher, Abdigani Diriye, is now also a TED Fellow. Diriye was selected for his research in mobile-based financial services and for launching a Somalia-based accelerator program for Somalia-based technology start-ups.
He is a Research Scientist and Manager at IBM Research Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya where he applies Big Data analytics to "improve access to financial services for Africans across the continent".
"My life's work can be characterized as conducting R&D into innovative technologies that address grand challenges facing Africa, and supporting innovators and entrepreneurs in the continent of Africa and beyond who are creating a positive impact and effecting change," said Diriye.
Notably, Diriye, along with some of his colleagues holds several patents in the Information Technology field, namely:
User Interface for Interactive Query Reformulation. (US Patent App. 12/969,218)
Cursor Activity Evaluation For Search Result Enhancement. (US Patent App. 13/004,673)
Query Reformulation In Association With a Search Box. (Patent filed. MS 334501.01)
According to TED Fellows selectors, the program is about bringing together young innovators from around the world and across disciplines, who display both outstanding achievement and exemplary character. Added to that, the TED Fellows program emphasizes that it is not an academic fellowship but more interested in what the potential fellows have done, what they're currently working on and what they want to achieve or create in the future, i.e. it is about both academics and actions.
With that criterion set out, Diriye seems a perfect fit. He has a PhD in Computer Science which he obtained from University College London and has published numerous papers. Among some of the organizations he has founded which have had great impact is Innovate Ventures Somalia.
Innovative Ventures is a Somali startup accelerator and early-stage startup fund supporting technology startups in the East Afrikan country and counts several Somali startups as its alumni.
Diriye is not the only young Afrikan to be selected for the 2017 TED Fellows program, there are also innovators, artists and entrepreneurs from Uganda, Zimbabwe and more countries.