The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Saturday launched the first-ever African Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence (ARCAI) in Brazzaville, Congo.
Funded by the ECA and partners, ARCAI aims to provide technology education and skills to promote job creation, bridge the digital divide, enhance inclusive economic growth, and ensure Africa’s ownership of modern digital tools. It will also boost research and growth in areas such as digital policy, infrastructure, and finance.
Inaugurating the center, Prime Minister Anatole Collinet Makosso of the Republic of Congo said the center is “the result of a productive collaboration between the ECA and the government of Congo.”
“Thank you for believing in us,” said the PM, noting that AI is changing millions of lives and fast becoming an indispensable part of economic growth across the globe, underscoring the artificial intelligence (AI) centre was a significant step in line with President Denis Sassou Nguesso’s vision to promote innovation and the digital economy.
Ms. Songwe thanked the government of Congo for the seamless collaboration that facilitated the establishment of the AI centre, which she described as a critical step in advancing innovation and job creation in Africa. She noted, however, that there’s urgent need for the government to provide fast, affordable, and reliable broadband internet to facilitate the much-needed digital transformation.
ARCAI’s working pillars include 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 training to support citizens in becoming scholars, researchers, and leaders that can deliver digital transformation in our society. The centre will also offer Master of Science (MSc) programs in artificial intelligence and data science.
The establishment of this Artificial Intelligence Regional Center, the very first in Africa, makes the Republic of Congo a major regional hub for the development of emerging technologies in the region, she said.