Google Establishing First African Artificial Intelligence Research Center In Ghana

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
artificial intelligence research center
Google CEO Sundar Pichai visited Lagos last year. Photo – Forbes

Google has announced that it will establish an artificial intelligence research center in the Ghanaian capital later this year — a first for the company on the continent.

Expert machine learning researchers and engineers will work together at the new AI research center in Accra which will be dedicated to artificial intelligence research and its applications in a wider African context, according to Quartz.

The research center will focus on using artificial intelligence applications in areas that include healthcare, agriculture and education.

Announcing the AI research center in a Google blog post, senior Google AI fellow Jeff Dean and staff research scientist Moustapha Cisse wrote about the growing interest artificial intelligence has experienced across Africa.

“In recent years, we’ve witnessed an increasing interest in machine learning research across the continent,” the pair wrote in the Google blog post.

“Events like Data Science Africa 2017 in Tanzania, the 2017 Deep Learning Indaba event in South Africa, and follow-on IndabaX events in 2018 in multiple countries have shown an exciting and continuing growth of the computer science research community in Africa.”

Google has been focused on deriving value from AI for some time, and their investment in researching the technology is evidence of how important they believe it to be.

Google spent $30 billion on artificial intelligence research in 2016, according to Forbes.

First Google artificial intelligence research center in Africa

With the company established with offices in Africa for the last 10 years, it was finally time to launch a research center for this exciting science on the continent, and the Ghanaian capital was chosen as Africa’s first location.

Accra is in good company, with Google’s other AI research centers based in Paris, Zurich, Tokyo, Beijing, Montreal, Toronto, Seattle, Boston, Tel Aviv, New York, and their San Francisco headquarters.

Google has been making a great effort to expand its footprint within the African context, with 10 million Africans having now completed its digital skills training program, and the Launchpad Accelerator Africa tech startup incubator actively supporting 100,000 developers across 60 companies, according to Venturebeat.

In 2017 Google CEO Sundar Pichai visited Nigeria and announced a number of investments and initiatives that would benefit Africa.

In September, Google launched a mentorship program that is specifically focused on supporting African tech entrepreneurs, with a new Google Launchpad space now available in Nigeria.

Google Developers Launchpad Africa, which will operate from a new Google Launchpad Space in Lagos, is a mentorship program that aims to provide tech startups based in Africa with the tools to build sustainable businesses, according to IOL.

The Google Launchpad Space in Nigeria was the first onsite location for the program outside of the U.S.