ECA and Congo government to launch first AI research centre in Africa

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the government of Congo will inaugurate a centre devoted exclusively to advancing research through artificial intelligence.

According to a press release from the ECA copied to Ghana Business News, the centre would be dedicated to advancing digital technology in Africa in areas of digital policy, infrastructure, finance, skills, digital platforms and entrepreneurship.

The centre funded through the ECA and other donor partners would provide necessary technology education and skills to promote Africa’s integration, contribution to generate inclusive economic growth, stimulate job creation, break the digital divide, and eradicate poverty, the release said.

It indicates that Congo will serve as a regional AI hub across the continent to give access to the deepest and highest quality pool of AI talent.

“With Agenda 2063 as the blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future. The AI Centre is a new dynamic to Africa’s participation in the global value chain. With global companies choosing to locate in regional hubs there’s potential for businesses investing in the AI Centre’s ecosystems to benefit from strong government support, low business costs, and access to world-class AI clusters,” the release said.

It notes that the AI Centre has a clear vision to work together with multiple stakeholders establishing linkages for a collaborative environment between industry, institutions, government, public and private sectors.

“The working pillars of the centre strategically include various engagement areas -the provision of state-of-the-art AI research facilities, collaboration with top ranked universities in Africa, building a network of highly skilled researchers and providing support and training to support citizens in becoming scholars, researchers, leaders and engaged citizens required to deliver digital transformation in our society,” it said.

According to the release, the Centre will be officially launched by UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the ECA, Vera Songwe, and H.E. Anatole Collinet Makossa, Prime Minister of Congo under the auspices of President Denis Sassou Nguesso and in attendance would be African ministers responsible for ICT and the digital economy.

A partnership agreement to develop the project was signed in March 2021 by the Republic of the Congo and ECA during the official opening ceremony of the 7th session of the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development.  The UN partners include, The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), UNESCO, the International Telecommunications Union, Alibaba Jack Ma Foundation and other key ECA partners, it added.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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