Addis Ababa, 12 November 2021, (ECA) - The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has concluded a three-day strategic validation workshop to establish the African Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (ARCAI) in Congo Brazzaville
The overall objective of the Validation Workshop held on November 9 -11 was for experts to approve the available strategic document to establish the ARCAI in Congo Brazzaville with the support of ECA and other partner organizations.
The workshop was attended by Congo Brazzaville government officials, ECA experts and partner organizations, local Experts and Civil Society representatives, Non- Governmental Organizations and media representatives.
According to Mactar Seck - an Economic Affairs Officer, from ECA’s Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management Division - during the three days validation workshop, the strategic document was reviewed by experts from the field, the technical and steering committees formed and other key stakeholders in the area, hence enriching the strategic document.
The workshop outcomes include an enriched and finalized center establishment strategic document; final partnership and collaboration strategic document; an approved course modules and contents for the online course delivery training; commented and approved online course delivery platform; commented and approved draft curriculum for the Master of science in Artificial Intelligence and data science LMD program; an approved plan of actions to inaugurate the center and to launch the online course delivery in January 2022; commented and approved short- and long-term plans of the AI center; and clear direction and procedures for the construction of the actual building of the ARCAI
The key documents presented for consideration at the workshop include the AI Strategic Document on the anticipated mission, vision, objectives, rational and expected outcomes of the AI Center; the AI Partnership and collaboration strategic document developed, aligned with the mission, vision and objectives of the Africa Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence ARCAI; AI modules and contents for the online course delivery training developed by conducting a detailed research and analysis of leading global AI courses from institutions across the world and in Africa; curriculum for the Master of science in Artificial Intelligence and data science LMD program which aims to train African experts and specialists executives obtain a higher level in the design and development of intelligent information systems, in programming and in automatic data analysis.
The ARCAI has the primary objective of undertaking cutting-edge research on artificial intelligence (AI) focusing on a human-centered approach in order to maximize the benefits and counter the challenges of development and use of artificial intelligence for the socio-economic development of the continent.
“The Center will undertake research on the legal, ethical, economic and societal implications of Artificial Intelligence technologies, as well as develop artificial intelligence-based tools, products and services,” said Mr Seck adding that it will help the African continent as a whole adopt the implementation of this emerging technology in their efforts to meet national development aspirations and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as internationally agreed.
The creation of this Regional Center on Artificial Intelligence with the support of ECA and its partners will make Congo a major technology hub in Central Africa. The anticipated objectives of the research center could also be-serving researchers all over Africa and beyond by providing state of the art AI laboratories, engaging researchers on industrial projects in the areas of Artificial Intelligence that will guarantee the socio-economic development of the continent, encouraging and supporting different AI start- ups and initiatives, promoting standard and real problem solving research works in the areas of AI , disseminating knowledge and expertise in the areas of AI , carrying out advanced interdisciplinary research in the broad areas of Artificial Intelligence.
Artificial intelligence for Africa presents opportunities to put the continent at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Before Africa can lead this transformation, though, there are important steps that must be undertaken. First, the region needs to formulate a comprehensive continental blueprint to guide its AI strategy by involving key Pan-African institutions, academia, and the private and public sectors in its conception.
The use of AI technologies could lead to greater productivity, enhanced social good and the creation of new fields of work throughout the continent. Strategic and coordinated leadership is critical if we are to maximize opportunities and prepare for the profound change AI will likely have on business and society across every sector in Africa. It is with these notions that the establishment of research center in the discipline of AI is mandatory in Africa.
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Tel: +251 11 551 5826