TechInAfrica – After launching its data centers in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Microsoft has currently launched the Policy Innovation Center (PIC) in Africa at the University of Pretoria. It’s designed to bring together stakeholders from government, academia, industry and civil society to share knowledge and experiences to better foster innovative policy dialog and recommendations within different sectors.
The PIC is managed by partner academic institutions with strong academic records as well as leading experts. Furthermore, it will also partner with colleagues in the Middle East, Africa and other countries of the world in order to ensure all the policy dialogs and engagements at the PIC in a local, regional, and international.
Innovations in technology are changing the way we live and interact with each other. It provides benefits and potential to transform business, countries, and innovations to further create economic opportunities. With tech innovations, challenges can be addressed effectively through the PIC that drives collaboration and discussion across various disciplines.
An example of the challenges is how to implement the positive use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Africa. This can be addressed through engagement and collaboration. AI offers potential solutions to most pressing challenges facing Africa as and uncovers great potential across the continent. Furthermore, it can be a generator of growth and development in various sectors, such as agriculture, healthcare, as well as public sectors like education and financial services.
Lillian Barnard, Managing Director at Microsoft South Africa, said: “If Africa can take decisive steps to overcome its unique challenges, it will catch up to those countries that have already taken steps to advance AI. The success of AI in Africa will depend on the ability of governments to foster collaboration among all stakeholders – smart partnerships are everything. Facilities such as the PIC can help us facilitate robust conversations and thinking that will inevitably reshape the way we do business in the future.”
The PIC set up by Microsoft South Africa has developed a white paper entitled Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Africa: An Opportunity for Growth, Development, and Democratization Compiled by Access Partnership in collaboration with the University of Pretoria. It was released during the Science Forum South Africa 2018 held on December 12 – December 14, 2018.