Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Emerging Tech

SA minister says AI institute should execute ideas

Article Image
South Africa's Artificial Intelligence Institute will not only focus on research, but it will also focus on ideation and experimentation.

Those were the sentiments of SA's Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni at the launch of the Artificial Intelligence Institute of South Africa's (AIISA's) AI hub on Wednesday.

The AIISA is launching two AI hubs – one at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) which was launched this week and another planned to open at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in 2023.

Delivering the keynote address at the event held at the UJ Business School, the minister said that research has garnered a stigma for not going to market, however, when ideation and experimentation are done, that research gets put to the test in the market.

She added that institutions of higher learning can no longer teach and produce content for their own gratification.

"It is no longer about the amount of research that institutions of higher learning produce per year, it is the impact of that research produced in a year that should matter," she said.

"Universities need to make an impact in the societies that they are in because if impact is made, it would mean that those institutions would be producing graduates that make a positive contribution to society and become job creators in their own spaces," she explained.

She added that the launch comes soon after the recommendations by the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (PC4IR), which crafted South Africa's roadmap to exploit opportunities offered by the new economy.

"The objectives of the Institute are designed to ensure that we do not compete, as countries, universities, research institutions as well as businesses, but rather work together to apply our collective knowledge and solve some of Africa's challenges," Ntshavheni continued.

Digital transformation efforts

The minister explained that AI has helped countries to develop approaches that have led to their market dominance. Therefore, for South Africa and the continent to radically transform, technologies like AI need to optimize solving critical problems facing the world.

"The Institute ushers in a new era in South Africa's digital transformation efforts, and stimulates economic growth, addresses unemployment, and creates a positive social impact," she continued.

Want to know more about technologies like AI, ML, IoT and smart cities? Check out our dedicated Emerging Tech content channel here on Connecting Africa.

"The role of the AIISA from a global perspective, has witnessed huge international interest from governments, the private sector, academic institutions and other stakeholders," she added.

She said UJ and TUT will serve as the AIISA hubs that have initiatives that use AI as a tool for economic advancement. The universities have also identified areas of work to focus on like automotive, manufacturing, transport, telecommunications, tourism, healthcare, farming and the future of work.

The ultimate goal is to create a network of AI hubs that will be linked to key projects across the country as well as centers of excellence across the Southern African Development Community (SADC), she added.

The minister said that the Institute will launch four extra hubs with four different universities in South Africa in 2023.

Related posts:

*Top image is of South African Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni (Source: Communications and Digital Technologies Department, Twitter page).

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Vodacom Tanzania unveils Digital Accelerator Program winners

Mobile operator Vodacom Tanzania has announced the season three winners of its Digital Accelerator Program.


AI's potential in African agriculture, energy and climate action GSMA

A new GSMA report examines the huge potential for artificial intelligence to support Africa's socio-economic growth in areas including agriculture, energy and climate action.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives


Leadership Lessons: Networking towards career advancement

By Nollie Maoto

Nollie Maoto, First Rand Group's compliance chief data and analytics officer and Africa Tech Festival Leadership Council member, reflects on the importance of networking for career growth especially for African women in data analytics.


Leadership Lessons: The importance of mentorship for career growth

By Nollie Maoto

Nollie Maoto, First Rand Group's compliance chief data and analytics officer and Africa Tech Festival Leadership Council member, reflects on the importance of mentorship for career growth for African women in data analytics.

More Guest Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Cyber Revolution Summit
August 9, 2024
Gaborone, Botswana
Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 12-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives


Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.


The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.


Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Follow us on X

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up
Tag id test-002