Google to open its first Africa AI research center in Ghana

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Google has opened an AI research center in Ghana’s capital of Accra, to take advantage of the cities educational ecosystem and boost Africa’s artificial intelligence sector, Quartz Africa reports.

Accra features an extensive fiber optic network, which Google began building in 2015, and a vibrant tech industry, according to Quartz. Google selected Accra over other strong candidates including Lagos, Nigeria, where the company is opening its first Launchpad Space outside of the U.S. to support local tech startups.

Google Brain Team Lead Jeff Dean said the decision was difficult, and the company hopes to consider putting research facilities in other locations on the continent in time.

“In the end, we chose Accra because of a strong ecosystem of local universities and its proximity to a branch of the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences, and our experience in the country,” he told Quartz over Twitter.

Google intends to bring together top researchers and engineers in machine learning at the facility to work on new AI developments and applications.

Quartz notes that PricewaterhouseCoopers has predicted AI technologies could drive a $15.7 trillion increase in global GDP by 2030, with $1.2 trillion of that earned in Africa.

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