Artificial intelligence (AI) is a technique which enables machines to mimic human behavior. Half a century is passed as AI has laid its foundation stone to play its technological significance for the entire world. Different countries across the world are benefiting from this technology.
Owing to this fact Ethiopia has also established Artificial Intelligence Center months ago under proclamation number 463/2020 by the Council of Ministers. As documents from the center revealed, the contribution of the reformist leader Abiy Ahmed (PhD) was indispensable for the establishment of the center.
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) has huge technological potential that helps Ethiopia create favorable conditions for digital economic growth, Abraham Belay (PhD) Minister of Innovation and Technology said. The Minister further said that AI plays a significant role in achieving the country’s vision to become an African beacon of prosperity.
In order to build a capacity about the technology among the stake holders and the whole citizens as well, Artificial Intelligence Center (AIC) in collaboration with different public and private partnerships organized the first ever Artificial Intelligence workshop and expo this month under the theme AI for all.
On the event, Minister of Innovation and Technology, Abraham Belay (PhD), conveyed his message that Ethiopia will inscribe its own great history in the field adding that the AI is a key for digitalizing the nation’s economy.
“AI has come up with remarkable changes in the field over the past eight months of its establishment and contributed a lot to national economic, social and political gains. Both public and private sectors have to participate in the field understanding its political, economic and social gains,” he remarked.
Artificial Intelligence Center (AIC) Director General, Worku Gachena for his part said that the eight-month-old AIC has organized such a colorful national workshop and exhibition aiming at helping the government, society and partners build capacity regarding the technology.
He further stated that the AI is a result of human being’s innovative that has brought about different opportunities for Ethiopia and Ethiopians to compete with the entire world. Besides, this technology will also play significant role in coming up with industrial transformation in the country, he noted.
As the sector is a modern gift this time, Ethiopia is working on benefiting much out of it. Above all, the technology helps bring significant change in health, agriculture, transportation, aerospace, finance and other sectors.
As to him, the center is working on new innovations that will support both rural and urban communities to easily access their finance. Accordingly, the new technology is being adopted in the way it helps the illiterate community to make financial transaction solely through voice. With this technology, everyone can send and receive his/her money through mobile application.
He said: “The center is also adopting prototype technology that is of paramount importance in reducing the loss commercial banks of Ethiopia incurs from debt disbursement. This technology can easily identify customers whether they are willing to return their debt for the banks. These activities will actively support the economy to be digitalized.”
Approached by The Ethiopian Herald, Public Relation Department Deputy Director of Huawei Technologies Co. LTD, Bowen Zhang said AI is the base for cutting aging technology like big data and cloud technology. He also said that Ethiopia has a big potential to get up the global market exponential to grow the digital economy.
Mentioning that AI is the feature of ICT Technology, he elucidated that Ethiopia will be benefited from the sector if it works ardently on it. As to him working on AI has a big potential to get the global market exponential to grow the digital market of a given country.
Sharing the company’s experience, Bowen Zhang explained that Huawei clouding under the AI sector enabled different sectors to be modernized. He also illustrated that countries that are operating AI at their health service could accelerate their diagnosis service eight times of the former period.
Through synergizing different elements of AI like block chain, big data and clouding, it is possible to get digitalization in every sector. Mentioning that Ethiopia is in a beginning stage of digital economy, he further suggested that Ethiopia shall follow the successful path of China, Korea and European countries.
As AI enables machines to simulate human behavior, some individuals claimed that this technology has a limitation on reducing man power from the companies. As a result, they argued that joblessness will be increased speedily if the man power is substituted by the machines.
While responding for the above argument, Tigist Hamid, Advisor of Transport Technology at the Ministry of Transport pointed out that the technology by itself can also create enormous job opportunities for the society than increasing joblessness. As to her, China with the highest population is implementing this technology. Parallel with this different job opportunities were created for the citizens.
She further underlined the basic advantages of the technology for modernizing the transport sector and digitalizing the national economy. As to her, AI is paramount importance to build controlled system under the supply chain under the logistic service. Besides it also enables to build smart warehouse coupled with cashless railway system.
Adding to the point she said the technology helps Ethiopia to operate smart traffic light system and license recognition. As transport is a key for every development in the country, the technology further helps to create efficient transport service. In order to contend with the entire world, it is must to use and adopt new technologies, she added.
“Indeed the technology needs to pass different stages. Therefore, we are adopting it gradually. Despite some challenges like to easily adopt the technology, the technology can bring significant change in the countries’ path to develop digital economic growth,” she said.
Documents from the AI center also revealed that the center is undertaking different activities in order to modernize their finance sector. Despite Ethiopia was the first African country to introduce the banking system, the country did not work to modernize the service. As a result, the center has adopted and produced a “chat boat” (discussion robot) that can enable the bank customers to easily access every banking services as they are everywhere and any time.
Moreover, Director Worku Gachena accentuated that the center will work exhaustively in accelerating the national economic reform to achieve national prosperity. Owing to the fact that AI will reduce fraud and accelerate the financial sector such as; Ministry of Finance, Customs Authority, Ministry of Revenue, Banks and Insurances that are involved in it.
Apart from the finance sector, AI also plays indispensable role for health, agriculture, transport, metrology, aerospace and other sectors.
Applauding the special attention attached to and the indispensable role Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has played to enhance the sector, the director stated that AIC is committed to further strengthen digitalizing the economy, and called on all stakeholders to actively participate in the workshop and expo that will last for the consecutive three days.