Google’s first AI Lab in Africa opens in Ghana

In line with its desire to position itself as an AI first company by opening research centres around the world, Google has opened its first Artificial Intelligence (AI) centre in Africa in Accra, Ghana.

The goal of the centre is to provide African developers with the necessary research needed to build products that can solve problems across various sectors such as agriculture, health, and education.

“Most of what we do in our research centres at Google and not just in Accra, we publish it and open-source code, so that everybody can use it to build all sorts of things,” said, Moustapha Cisse, the research scientist heading up Google’s AI efforts in Africa.

Google is working with universities and start-ups in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa to enhance AI development regionally, he said.

“We just need to ensure that the right education and opportunities are in place,” he said.

“That is why Google is sponsoring a lot of these young people for their degrees… to help develop a new generation of AI developers.”

The centre directly engages with researchers in African universities by providing grants to those interested in the various fields of AI and giving Ph.D. scholarships. Cisse added that Google also supports graduate programs in Machine Learning at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in South Africa.

The centre will also focus on enhancing Google Translate’s ability to capture African languages more precisely, with Cisse saying a continent with more than 2000 dialects deserves to be better served.

Google joins Facebook and other tech companies, in launching projects in Africa with a keen eye on the continent’s rising youth population.

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