In a significant move towards harnessing the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in Uganda, the government has partnered with the German Government development agency, GIZ, and Refractory Uganda, a tech-skilling academy, to provide comprehensive training programs in these cutting-edge technologies. This initiative is aimed at equipping 118 Ugandans with the essential AI and ML skills needed to participate in the fourth industrial revolution.
The six-month training program, set to take place at Clarke International University, is designed to offer in-depth knowledge and expertise in the fields of AI and ML.
Michael Niyitegeka, the Executive Director of the Refactory Program, emphasized the importance of building capacity in AI and ML to drive social and economic development in Uganda.
To make this vision a reality, Refactory has secured funding for the program, which includes 50 full scholarships for carefully selected and qualified individuals from the private, public, and development sectors in Uganda. Niyitegeka highlighted that the primary objective of the program is to provide actionable knowledge and an understanding of AI and data science applications tailored to the local context.
Niyitegeka stated, “Now we need to get to a level where we are using AI to solve our problems. That’s why having AI skills is very important for us to have the skills. Right now, Uganda is primarily a consumer of technologies since we are not actively delivering solutions. This program will, therefore, help equip Ugandans with AI skills that can help us solve problems.”
The candidates for the AI pilot program are drawn from various sectors, with 66% from the private sector, 16% from the public sector, and 9% from the NGO sector. Niyitegeka expressed optimism that the program would benefit people in the financial, agricultural, health, and telecom sectors, demonstrating the versatility and relevance of AI skills across industries.
Ivan Mukiibi, AI Technical Advisor at GIZ Fair Forward, noted the high level of public interest in the program. In response, GIZ decided to increase the number of candidates targeted for this pilot program from 50 to 118. This expansion aligns with their commitment to building AI capacity in developing countries.
Rose Clarke Nayonga, the Vice Chancellor of Clarke International University, stressed the changing dynamics of the fourth industrial revolution. She emphasized that human resource managers and employers should prioritize practical solutions and skills rather than traditional qualifications. This paradigm shift underscores the importance of providing learners with actionable knowledge and the ability to apply AI and ML in real-world scenario.