Congo Brazzaville to get Africa's first Artificial Intelligence research centre

Thursday February 24 2022
AI Research Center

The new centre will offer training in AI and robotics for researchers, youths and interested citizens. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) is set to launch the region's first Artificial Intelligence (AI) research centre in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo.

The facility, which will be inaugurated on February 24 by Uneca and the government of the Republic of Congo, is a groundbreaking centre devoted exclusively to advancing research through artificial intelligence to advance digital technology in Africa in areas of digital policy, infrastructure, finance, skills, digital platforms and entrepreneurship, Uneca announced Wednesday.  

The scientific research centre will be located at the Denis Sassou Nguesso University in Kintélé, in north of Brazzaville. It Its mission will be to improve the current landscape of Artificial Intelligence (AI) research in Congo and Africa in general; explore the potential of AI and the macroeconomic impacts, the transformative effects on societies and economies, particularly in the sectors of banking, health, agriculture, transport, and the environment; guide the use of AI to promote the economic and social development of the continent. Interdisciplinary research will be conducted at the centre.

The African Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence, funded through the ECA and other partners, will also provide the necessary technology education and skills to promote Africa's integration, contributing to generate inclusive economic growth, stimulate job creation, break the digital divide, and eradicate poverty for the continent's socio-economic development and ensure Africa's ownership of modern tools of digital management, it was noted.

"The centre will be the first of its kind in Africa, and it will provide a regional hub for the development of emerging technologies in the region," the Uneca said.

A partnership agreement to develop the project was signed in March 2021 by the Republic of Congo and Uneca during the official opening ceremony of the 7th session of the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development. The international partners involved in the realisation of the centre include the UN Industrial Development Organization (Unido), Unesco, the International Telecommunications Union, the Jack Ma Foundation and other key ECA partners.  


"Congo will serve as a regional AI hub across the continent to give access to the deepest and highest quality pool of AI talent," the Uneca said.

The centre will offer training in AI and robotics for researchers, youths and interested citizens. It will also offer the same skills to talented elementary and senior school students. 

The pursuit of a Masters of Science Degree in AI and data science in collaboration with the University of Denis Sassou Nguesso will be available at the AI centre. 

Africa wil,l therefore, have the appropriate modern digital management tools, with a view to Agenda 2063, which consists of programmes and initiatives to accelerate Africa's economic growth and development.