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

This collaboration, highlighted in a statement on the AfDB’s website, marks a significant stride toward revolutionising the African digital ecosystem.

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AfDB, Intel Partnership to Transform Africa with Advanced Technologies

The partnership focuses on providing Africans with skills in cutting-edge technologies such as AI, robotics, and data science. These competencies are crucial for enhancing economic growth and productivity across the continent. By training many individuals, the initiative seeks to enable Africa to take an active role in developing and innovating AI technologies.

The training program is poised to substantially impact various sectors, including agriculture, health, and education. By addressing socioeconomic challenges and improving productivity, the program aims to foster sustainable development and elevate Africa’s overall quality of life.

Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo, Intel’s director of government affairs Africa and International Government Affairs chief technology officer liaison, expressed Intel’s enthusiasm for the partnership. Soglo emphasised Intel’s commitment to making advanced technologies like AI accessible to everyone, regardless of location, gender, or ethnicity. This inclusive approach aims to enable broader participation in the digital economy.

Developing Unified Digital Policies

Beyond individual training, the partnership also aims to assist African countries, regional groups, and continental organisations develop consistent policies and regulations for digital technologies such as AI, 5G, and cloud computing.

This effort seeks to create a unified approach to digital transformation across Africa, ensuring cohesive and comprehensive technological advancement.

While African nations strive to catch up in AI, notable progress is being made. For instance, Nigeria recently launched its first multilingual large language model, positioning itself as a leader in AI development on the continent.

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Despite these advancements, many African countries, including Nigeria, face a significant talent gap in building AI technology that rivals global tech giants like OpenAI, Google, and Meta.

The high cost of training AI models presents a substantial barrier for individuals and organisations outside the tech industry. This financial challenge hampers their ability to engage in the AI revolution fully.

OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, highlighted this issue by mentioning the high training costs for GPT-4 and the need to raise significant funds to address the global shortage of semiconductor chips.

The collaboration between AfDB and Intel represents a pivotal step in addressing these challenges and empowering Africa to become a key player in the global AI landscape.

By equipping millions with advanced AI skills and fostering an inclusive digital ecosystem, this initiative aims to drive significant economic and social transformation across the continent.