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Google pushes into Africa with AI centre in Ghana

The search giant's centre will focus on making AI tech specifically for use in Africa

Google plans to open an artificial intelligence (AI) centre in Accra, Ghana, bringing its smart software development into Africa for the first time.

The search giant will open the centre later this year to tap into the nascent tech and AI sector growing in the city and across Africa as a whole.

The company also plans to work with local universities and policymakers to find potential ways AI can be used specifically in Africa, rather than more generally.

"We've seen people across Africa do amazing things with the internet and technology - for themselves, their communities and the world," said Moustapha Cisse, staff research scientist and lead of Google AI Centre Accra.

"In recent years we've also witnessed an increasing interest in machine learning research across the continent.

"As such, we're excited to combine our research interests in AI and machine learning and our experience in Africa to push the boundaries of AI while solving challenges in areas such as healthcare, agriculture, and education."

While Google looks to expand the use of AI in Africa, opening an AI centre in Ghana represents yet another bout of investment the search giant is putting into the continent.

It already has a presence in the form of its startup incubator Launchpad Accelerator Africa, a digital skill training programme, which it notes some 10 million Africans have completed, and it has even worked to lay a fibre optic network in Ghana's cities of Accra and Kumasi under the Project Link initiative.

As such, a fully-fledged expansion into Africa with an AI centre seemed somewhat inevitable.

Thanks to the development of cellular broadband, Africa has bypassed the need to lay masses of cabling across its vast landmass to deliver internet connectivity and, as a result, is now enjoying a tech renaissance with various hubs dotted across the continent's more developed nations.

Image credit: Google

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