The Ethiopian Council of Ministers has decided to establish an artificial intelligence (AI) research and development center.
The move was taken “to safeguard Ethiopia’s national interests through the development of artificial intelligence services, products and solutions based on research, development and implementation,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement issued on late Friday.
The decision calls for “a conducive environment for beginner developers and startups working in the artificial intelligence sector.”
This was the latest of a series of measures taken by Ethiopia, Africa’s second populous nation with a a population of about 107 million, to step up AI research and development in particular and advance information and Communications technology (ICT) in general. In November, Ethiopia signed a memo with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group on the creation of an Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP).
On Dec. 20, Ethiopia launched its Chinese-backed maiden satellite, ETRSS-1, into space, from a space center in China.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the launch “marked the start of a historic moment in Ethiopia’s quest toward the development of space science sector,” which “will play a crucial role in modernizing our agriculture sector by creating a conducive environment through the provision of scientific data and knowledge.”
“It will also inject a much-needed capacity for our country to compete and penetrate African and global market,” he said.
The multispectral remote-sensing microsatellite is expected to monitor the environment and weather patterns for better agricultural planning, drought early warning, mining activities and forestry management of the country.