Intel and AfDB to train millions of Africans in AI

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) and technology giant Intel have joined forces to equip three million Africans and 30,000 government officials with advanced artificial intelligence (AI) skills. 

According to a statement on the AfDB’s website, this collaboration, announced during the recent AfDB Annual Meetings in Nairobi, Kenya, aims to revolutionize the African digital ecosystem.

Boosting Africa’s digital transformation

This initiative aims to equip many Africans with Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) skills, including skills in advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and data science, which are crucial for boosting economic growth and productivity across Africa.

The partnership aims to train Africans in artificial intelligence (AI), enabling them to develop expertise in this area. This will allow individuals to play a more active role in the 4IR era, contributing to innovation and problem-solving.

The training program is expected to positively impact various sectors, including agriculture, health, and education. By addressing socioeconomic challenges and improving productivity, it may help foster sustainable development and improve the overall quality of life in Africa.

Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo, Intel’s Director of Government Affairs Africa and IGA’s chief technology officer Liaison, expressed Intel’s enthusiasm for the partnership. Soglo said that Intel wants to work with African governments to make advanced technologies like AI accessible to everyone, regardless of location, gender, or ethnicity, and help people participate in the digital economy.

According to the statement, the partnership goes beyond individual training. It also helps African countries, regional groups, and continental organizations develop consistent policies and rules for digital technologies like AI, 5G, and cloud computing. This will create a unified approach to digital transformation across Africa.

Africa and AI

Although African countries are currently trying to catch up in the AI field, Nigeria recently made significant progress by launching its first multilingual large language model (LLM), aiming to lead in AI development across the continent.

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Despite its efforts, Nigeria, like many other African countries, faces a significant talent gap in building AI technology that rivals the capabilities of tech giants like OpenAI, Google, and Meta.

Moreover, the high cost of training AI models poses a substantial barrier for many individuals and organizations outside the tech industry, hindering their ability to participate in the AI revolution.

Citing OpenAI as an instance, the company’s CEO, Sam Altman, mentioned the high training cost for GPT-4 and sought to raise up to $7 trillion for a project addressing the massive global shortage in semiconductor chips.

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