In the Republic of Congo, a mid-term review workshop on the establishment of the African center for research on AI has been opened. On August 2, in Brazzaville, the Congolese Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and Digital Economy, Leon Juste Ibombo, inaugurated this workshop which should allow to evaluate the efforts made with the working group set up by the Economic Commission for Africa. The future African research center on AI should be an opportunity for the continent to open up to this new technology and become, one day, a competitive pole.
A workshop to accelerate the establishment of the African research center on artificial intelligence
For Minister Leon Juste Ibombo, the launch of this workshop is an opportunity to discuss the establishment of the African Research Center on Artificial Intelligence (Caria) which he wants to accelerate the construction process. The objective of this center is to ensure that Africa is equipped with an efficient institute for innovation and development of complex computer programs mixing AI and new technologies. The minister then went on to direct his remarks to the experts in the field:
“It is up to you experts to review the progress made in accordance with the assigned objectives and to formulate a clear roadmap for a quick start of activities. Also, we must, together, work tirelessly to operationalize this center that will be at the service of our youth, our businesses, our administrations and our civil societies.”
For five days, from August 2 to 6, 2021, the progress of the work was presented and all the decision-makers and experts agreed on the prospects of launching the first Caria online course as early as the first quarter of 2022, hoping that the premises will be ready by then.
The progressive integration of artificial intelligence on the African continent
During the workshop, several experts took turns to show all that AI could bring to the African continent. Jean Paul Adam, representative of the ECA, said that artificial intelligence is a source of technological progress that could have major social and industrial impacts. For Prof. Ange Antoine Abena, President of Denis Sassou N’Guesso University, the creation of an efficient institute is a priority:
“The potential that artificial intelligence represents is of paramount importance in the socio-economic transformation of the world in general and Africa in particular. According to statistics, by the end of 2021, artificial intelligence will generate nearly 16 billion dollars and create more than 2.3 million new jobs. It is therefore imperative and urgent that Africa can equip itself with competitive research centers to develop artificial intelligence.”
Edith Delphine Emmanuel, the Congolese Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technological Innovation, specified the future uses of Caria:
“This center will contribute, on the one hand, to the improvement of the situation of basic and applied research in Africa, African researchers representing, according to some statistics, only less than 3% of all researchers and on the other hand, will serve as a lever for a better representation of women researchers in our continent.”