The Africa Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Challenge have been officially launched in Egypt during the closing ceremony of the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IEEE GCAIoT).
The event took place in cooperation with many regional and local partners in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. These included: the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT); the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology; and Benya.
The aim of the challenge is to prepare qualified professionals in the technical field, and accelerate the process of digital transformation.
The challenge activities began in Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Uganda on Tuesday, followed by Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa in the last quarter of this year.
The Africa-wide challenge will take place online, taking into account the possibility of participants joining the challenge activities from other countries.
The challenge aims to build capacity in the fields of AI, the IoT, and related fields, and is focused on university students and young businesspeople in various countries across Africa.
It also aims to ensure readiness among the best graduation projects and startups for investment, whilst developing the environment for creativity and entrepreneurship. It also aims to create a network to support the digital transformation movement in Africa.
Ahmed Mekky, Chairperson and CEO of Benya, noted the importance of the role played by Benya Ventures, the investment arm of Benya. The company looks to play a major role in investing in emerging digital companies with high potential in Africa.
He noted that the Africa Challenge will enable Benya Ventures to explore talents and scale up potential startups in the digital arena.
Andy Chen, IEEE TEMS President, said, “With our motto being ‘Leaders make products/services for good’, we focus on people.”
“We need exceptional talent for innovation and entrepreneurship alongside technology,” he added.
Ahmed Al-Beheiry, founder of WAKANDAI Ventures, affirmed his company’s commitment to support AI and IoT capabilities in various industries. This would also see the company provide solutions and applications across Africa, which will witness a new era of prosperity and enlightenment.
The challenge falls in line with the global trend of attention to and greater utilization of technology in various fields of life. The technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have transformed societies over the past 30 years.
Furthermore, technologies based on information and communication technology (ICT) and AI have played a fundamental role in the development of many areas related to applied science, engineering, health, and transportation.
There is also a new wave of technological progress that creates new opportunities and tests the ability of governments to take advantage of this progress. Moreover, these innovations provide a large number of opportunities for less developed countries to take advantage of new and changing markets.