22nd October 2019

Zambia’s ready for Artificial Intelligence and machine learning

The world is now living in the 4th Industrial Revolution where solutions to the many socio-economic challenges we are facing are now powered by state-of-the-art technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Machine/Deep Learning.

Young people in Zambia have stepped-up to the challenge.

On 17th April and under the auspices of TsogoloTech a subsidiary of Family Development Initiatives (FDI), Zambia saw the successive second-Deep Learning Indaba X at the University of Zambia (UNZA). Over 100 ICT and tech enthusiasts drawn from renowned academic institutions in Zambia participated in the event that was graced by the Smart Zambia National Coordinator.

In his speech, read on his behalf by the e-Governance Director Mr. Milner Makuni, the Smart Zambia National Coordinator reiterated that Zambia is slowly moving away from being a net consumer of Information Communication Technology (ICT) products to a net producer of ICT products and services in this era of big data, internet of things, artificial intelligence and robotics.

He further told the gathering that Government had approved the Smart Zambia e-Government Master Plan (2018 – 2030) that provides a blue print to transition the country into a Smart Zambia.

“We envisage the Smart Zambia e-Government master plan to transform Government into a connected entity that responds to the needs of its citizens by developing an integrated electronic platform.”

Speaking at the same event, UNZA Computer Science Head of Department, Dr. Monde Kabemba expressed her delight at being part of the occasion and thanked the organisers of the event, TsogoloTech, FDI, UNZA and the Deep Learning Indaba for successfully holding this year’s event.

She lauded the organisers ability to mobilize such a huge gathering of young talent and different skillset to deliberate on the technological advancements that could be adapted to solving the problems of the country.

During the same event, Mr. Yusuf Ayami who is the Team Leader at FDI expressed happiness on the increased number of women participants in this year’s event that increased from 1% last year to 20% this year. He reminded the team that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has now become the oil of development and that we all need to make use of it to resolve numerous developmental issues.

Meanwhile, Mr. Yasin Musa Ayami who is the founder of TsogoloTech expressed happiness at the number of participants that turned up for the event despite the heavy down pour that was expressed in various parts of the country. He further added that there are a number of activities that have been lined up during the course of the year to keep the AI community that has been formed vibrant.

This year’s Deep Learning Indaba brought a lot of enthusiasm among the young programmers, researchers, AI enthusiast and engineers. The participants appealed to TsogoloTech and other stakeholders to continuously engage them and make use of their talent to resolve a number of emerging issues in the country.

Among the tech-based solutions show-cased at this year’s event were usage of Internet of Things (IoT) to create a smart home; using computer vision for drug dispensation and using IoT for guiding the blind.

Some of the participants at this year’s Indaba will represent Zambia at the upcoming Africa Deep Learning Indaba in Nairobi Kenya this August. And others will be provided an opportunity to showcase their work and compete with other global researchers.

Written by Yasin Musa Ayami (Leader – ICT and Innovation Family Development Initiatives)

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