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Rwanda Becomes First African Country to Open an AI Research Centre

The C4IR is already working on projects such as the country's artificial intelligence (AI) policy and laws governing the protection of personal data and privacy.

Shivam Dwivedi
Paula Ingabire, Rwanda's Minister of Information, Communication Technology, and Innovation
Paula Ingabire, Rwanda's Minister of Information, Communication Technology, and Innovation

With the establishment of the Centre of the Fourth Industrial Revolution(C4IR), Rwanda's government appears to understand this better than most. "With the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the rapid innovations witnessed during the pandemic, there is an increased urgency to develop digital and technological capacities to build more resilient systems for a healthier society and more sustainable economy," said Paula Ingabire, Rwanda's Minister of Information, Communication Technology, and Innovation.

Ingabire made the remark in a press release published on the World Economic Forum's (WEF) website. Rwanda has announced the launch of its C4IR, stating that it will "work with stakeholders around the world to design and pilot new approaches to technology governance that foster innovation in an inclusive and responsible manner."

The C4IR is already working on projects such as the country's artificial intelligence (AI) policy and laws governing the protection of personal data and privacy.

President Paul Kagame said at the center's opening last week that it was a source of pride for the country. He went on to say that it demonstrated how far science and technology had progressed.

He stated: “The establishment of this centre is made possible by the country's investments in science and technology. I hope that the centre will build on this by making the Fourth Industrial Revolution an equalizing force and contributing solutions to some of today's most pressing issues. We are delighted to have the World Economic Forum as a partner in this and other important endeavours.”

Borge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum, said at the launch that because the centre is the first of its kind in Africa, it will set the standard.

"I believe that the Rwanda Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution will play an important role in achieving Rwanda's goal of becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2035." "I hope that the centre will be a key enabler of Rwanda's goal of becoming a more prosperous society," he said.

Crystal Rugege, the facility's managing director, stated that it will be a "catalyst for Africa to lead the world in shaping a more inclusive Fourth Industrial Revolution."

"According to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Africa's population under 35 will number nearly a billion people in 2020 – 540.8 million 0 to 14-year-olds and 454.5 million 15 to 34-year-olds, accounting for 22.7 percent of the world's total youth population, second only to Asia's 58 percent."

With this in mind, Ingabire stated that the continent's youth bulge is a huge advantage for driving technologically motivated growth.

She stated: “The time has come for Africa to seize control of a new technological revolution. Our continent has a distinct competitive advantage stemming from an undeniably entrepreneurial spirit instilled in our youth – the ability to innovate out of necessity.”

According to the World Economic Forum, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way people live, work, and interact with one another.

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