Africa’s first AI centre aims to pave way for ‘inclusive’ fourth industrial revolution
Rwanda has become the first country in Africa to launch a centre dedicated to artificial intelligence, machine learning and data governance aiming to support and accelerate industry 4.0 across the continent.
The newly launched centre is a partnership between the Ministry of Information, Communication Technology and Innovation of Rwanda and the World Economic Forum.
Named ‘Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ (C4IR), the initiative is part of a network of 15 centres across the world established by the WEF.
It’s hoped that the centres will create new policies and tech strategies to help industries with their digital transformation particularly regarding Industry 4.0.
Rwanda’s C4IR will primarily focus on data governance, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. It will collaborate with stakeholders around the world to design and pilot new approaches to technology governance in the country to help support technological innovation around AI and ML responsibly.
WEF president Børge Brende said that C4IR will “play an important role to meet the ratio of Rwanda becoming an upper middle-income country by 2035.”
He added: “The centre will be a key enabler of Rwanda’s goal of becoming an even more prosperous society.”
C4IR has already played a role in developing Rwanda’s data protection and privacy legislation as well as co-designing its national AI policy.
There are also several pilot projects underway in partnership with the private sector on AI applications in healthcare to analyse how solutions can be scaled and governed responsibly and ethically.
“The launch of this centre is enabled by investments that we, as a country, have been making in science and technology,” said President of Rwanda Paul Kagame at the centre’s opening ceremony.
“I hope this centre will build on this by making the Fourth Industrial Revolution and equalising force and contributing solutions to some of today’s most pressing challenges.”
Managing director of C4IR Rwanda Crystal Rugege added that C4IR would enable Rwanda to play a critical role in responsibly accelerating technological adoption.
“We will use the centre as a catalyst for Africa to lead the world in shaping a more inclusive fourth industrial revolution that addresses our unique challenges and unlocks more equitable opportunities for innovation and growth that deliver societal impact,” she added.
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