Africa AI Innovation Summit explores solutions for persons with special needs

Africa AI Innovation Summit explores solutions for persons with special needs

Artificial Intelligence technologies and Robotics can help people with special needs navigate social interactions and unfamiliar settings with ease. 

Through these technologies, persons with special needs can access tools designed primarily to improve speech and conversational skills. 

A three-month hackathon organized by the Kenya National Innovation Agency, Huawei, UNESCO, Assistive Technologies for Development and Kenya Institute of Special Education saw young innovators come up with technological solutions for persons with special needs. 

During the Africa AI Innovation Summit held at the Kenya International Convention Centre (KICC) on Tuesday, the innovators students demonstrated their solutions to the panel that sought to catalyze the African Ecosystem to develop African AI Solutions to solve African problems.

At the Summit, Dagoretti South Member of Parliament John Kiarie called for a focus on key technological enablers such as infrastructure, data, skills, ethics and financing necessary for AI to thrive in Africa. 

“With all resources availed to Africa, with a bulging and enthusiastic youthful, educated and relatively technologically savvy population, Africa has everything to ensure that Africa does not sleep through this fourth Industrial Revolution,” Kiarie said. 

In a commitment to training students and providing technical and cloud resources to support AI in Kenya, Huawei Director for Government Affairs, Adam Lane, said the tech giant is keen on partnerships that will result in more hackathons and summits where AI opportunities can be explored fully. 

During the AI Summit held on the sidelines of the African Development Bank annual meeting, Ephraim Mwereza, a young innovator who came up with an AI solution to assess autism emerged the winner of the hackathon.

The second prize went to a team developing a platform that bridges the communication gap between caregivers and individuals with autism.

The students had been previously trained by Huawei and used Huawei Cloud to develop their solutions.

Experts at the summit called for upskilling the youth, as Dr. Tomisin Fashina, the CIO of African Development Bank remarked; “We must educate ourselves out of under development, it all starts with education”.


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