Global Challenge to harvest data for infrastructure development launched

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The African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) and Omdena, a collaborative technology platform, have launched a global challenge that aims to use artificial intelligence to predict future infrastructure needs of Africa.

The project, dubbed: “The Omdena Challenge,” is an attempt to harvest data comprehensively in Africa to improve infrastructure.

Comprising 42 data scientists from 20 countries, the challenge represents a unique opportunity for accelerating positive change on the continent through the use of advanced technology and innovation.

A statement signed by Mr Rob Floyd, the ACET Director and Senior Advisor, copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday, said: “This challenge is important in that it brings together ACET’s work on innovation and on infrastructure.”

“If we can develop some new predictive model using artificial intelligence, they can be important drivers of Africa’s economic transformation”.

The statement acknowledged that an efficient and effective infrastructure was critical to economic transformation hence ACET’s ongoing work to improve on infrastructure and private sector development.

It said Africa’s infrastructure gap was up to $108 billion per year as governments were faced with exorbitant costs and directly financing 42 percent of all infrastructure needs from national budgets.

The Omdena Challenge, it said, would utilise various sources of openly available data to help understand aspirations, needs, and sentiments of people living in the region.

The available date includes satellite images, climate and topological data, population and demographic data, Google Trends, Google business data, as well as social media data.

The Challenge would run for eight weeks and would look at the G20 Compact with Africa, infrastructure project cycles, sustainable export processing zones, infrastructure financing and investment promotion.


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