In the bustling city of Accra, Ghana, Darlington Akogo, the visionary founder and chief executive of MinoHealth AI Labs, has been on a transformative journey to revolutionize healthcare through artificial intelligence (AI).
Founded in 2016, MinoHealth AI Labs specializes in providing AI solutions for healthcare applications, focusing on areas such as radiology and microscopy. Akogo’s mission to deploy deep learning for aiding hospital diagnoses faced initial skepticism from the people of Accra, despite their renowned hospitality.
To overcome this skepticism, Akogo took on the role of an AI evangelist. In 2018, MinoHealth AI Labs organized its first AI event in Ghana, where Akogo delivered a talk on “Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning: How Africa Can Be Revolutionized.” Despite a modest initial attendance, the company found a strategic partner in Global Lab Ghana, a STEM-focused community, and initiated AI training sessions. This marked the beginning of an impressive growth trajectory for Ghana’s AI ecosystem.
International collaborations and research
MinoHealth AI Labs has not only become a local success story but has gained international recognition through strategic collaborations and ground-breaking research. Partnering with institutions like London’s Imperial College and receiving support from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), MinoHealth AI Labs has published influential papers on AI applications in nutrition, 3D bioprinting, regenerative medicine, cancer research, and immunology.
One significant milestone was an AI clinical evaluation study in Africa, benchmarking MinoHealth AI Labs’ medical image interpretation system against radiologists. The results showed that AI outperforming traditional radiologists. This success led to the creation of a globally adopted platform supporting the screening of medical images, detecting conditions such as lung opacities and pleural lesions.
Shaping national and continental strategies
Beyond the confines of MinoHealth AI Labs, Darlington Akogo has become a key player in shaping national and continental AI strategies. Actively contributing to the Ghanaian government’s AI and data governance strategies, Akogo also serves as the chair for the working group on the economy of artificial intelligence for the African Union (AU). His involvement in creating the AU-AI Continental Strategy for Africa encompasses crucial areas such as AI regulatory and ethical policy, reflecting a broader commitment to training more young Africans in AI and data science.
Akogo’s vision extends beyond individual success, foreseeing Africa emerging as a dominant force in the global AI race within the next five years. With AI governance initiatives spreading across African countries, thriving AI communities in major cities, and a maturing startup scene, Akogo’s leadership exemplifies the transformative power of AI in shaping Africa’s technological future.