An international seminar on “Digital Transformation in Africa” was held on June 2 and 3, 2022 at the Ouagadougou Higher Institute of Population Sciences (ISSP), organized by CEPHISS and LAPHI Laboratories. Over 48 hours, more than thirty research papers were presented and discussed to highlight the changes taking place in Africa for the development of digital technology and artificial intelligence.
Like other parts of humanity, Africa is transforming and innovating through the discovery of digital technology, new information and communication techniques. So the goal of this international seminar is to understand and take advantage of these technological advances. This is why the 30 papers of the meeting were pronounced around three axes. Axis 1 has worked on the question of “digital transformation and artificial intelligence in Africa” through a critical review of the concept.
Axis 2 related communications analyzed the problems, challenges, limitations and artificial intelligence of digital transformation in Africa on the one hand and the relationship between sub-Saharan African states on the other. In the digital age, in the areas of region, education and security, but above all in the fight against crime and cross-border terrorism. Finally, Axis 3 focuses on the health crisis and its relationship to new information and communication technologies with the sub-theme “Telemedicine, Artificial Intelligence and Digital Health in Africa”.
According to PR Cyril Kerr, President of the Organizing Committee, the aim of this seminar is to understand, study and initiate the phenomenon of digital transformation. “We started this scientific meeting to understand the phenomenon of digital change that is coming, to understand the problems and to study the opportunities provided by these transformations. During this seminar, there was a question for us, to ask ourselves about tackling the challenge and then of course this moment of exchange between the researchers to strengthen the mutual cooperation as well as to create knowledge about something that is relevant to the society, “he explained.
- “With digital technology, there is a leap forward for Africa, if these technologies are used wisely,” Pre-Cyril Kerr said.
Digital technology to deal with insecurity
Digital technologies have profoundly transformed all aspects of our society, presenting challenges such as opportunities in terms of peace and security. It stems from the various contacts on the “crime and security outside the contemporary state, the Sahel and the digital age”.
For about two hours, communicators descended to present digital solutions that could be effectively used as weapons of war in the war on terror. To this end, the first communicator, Cédric Baudouin Kaboré, managing director of start-up Fikasso Security, highlighted the opportunity to represent the appropriate use of information.
“For us, the essence of the national security strategy lies in the optimal management of population information. As a result, we consider data as the first product of a security strategy in the digital age. Data is currently treated as oil. In order for things to get done and evolve, people need a certain amount of information … for that, technology and infrastructure needs to be implemented for data collection in key sectors, “he argued.
- Colonel August explained to Dennis Barry that “on a strategic level, digital technology is a real opportunity for Africa to re-establish itself.”
Following him, Colonel August Barry, former Minister for Security and Regional Administration, Dr. Amado Vedraogo, Police Investigator Yunusa Sanfo, and Police Commissioner Rachid Palenfo highlighted the potential for such technology in field operations.
“There is a lot of progress being made. We have high and medium altitude drones and micro-drones. When it comes to minimization, we have a mechanism at the weapon level that allows us to increase the capability of our weapon. We also have the use of sensors (Editor’s note: The Anglicism of the Sensors) that we put in the human body to be able to follow the battlefield live, but also have information on the minds of the soldiers to rearrange. There are also collaborative warfare techniques that are a practice today that allows people to work with machines and allow several machines to work together, “explained Colonel Barry.
- “The real commitment from our government, as well as the strategic planning with experimentation, is a prerequisite for our courage as a sovereign nation in the Fourth Revolution”, Cédric Baudouin Kaboré
Before concluding his speech, he stressed the need for research funding. “African states must agree to invest in research. I have often seen 100 million, 50 million offers from economic operators. But I have rarely seen an economic operator pay 100 or 200 million for research. I think we can work to get the private sector interested in financing some research activities within the framework of artificial intelligence promotion in our country, ”he concluded.
At the end of the meeting, Professor Cyril Kerry, chairman of the seminar’s organizing committee, said he was overwhelmed and satisfied with the various contacts. The organizing committee plans to make all contributions available to the general public. He also announced other conferences to deepen the debate on the question of digital technology.