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SA’s CSIR joins Colombia’s C4IR to scout for AI, IOT opportunities

By , ITWeb
South Africa , 19 Feb 2021

South Africa’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), has signed an agreement with Corporación Ruta N Medellin (C4IR.CO) to unlock the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, and bolster research capacities in Colombia and South Africa.

According to a statement released by the organisations, C4IR.CO is a corporation set up under the laws of Colombia as an operator of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution of Colombia, arising from an alliance between the Mayor's Office of Medellín and the National Government of Colombia.

CSIR Chief Executive Officer Dr Thulani Dlamini.
CSIR Chief Executive Officer Dr Thulani Dlamini.

They add that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed on 16 February 2021 by CSIR Chief Executive Officer Dr Thulani Dlamini and Columbia C4IR Chief Executive Officer Dr Agostinho Joao Ramalho de Almeida, paves the way for the promotion of knowledge and sharing of expertise in the area of scientific research and technology, with a strong focus on 4IR technologies.

Columbia C4IR Chief Executive Officer Dr Agostinho Joao Ramalho de Almeida.
Columbia C4IR Chief Executive Officer Dr Agostinho Joao Ramalho de Almeida.

The virtual event was attended by the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry of Columbia, Dr José Manuel Restrepo; the Ambassador of Colombia in South Africa; CSIR Board Chairperson, Prof. Thokozani Majozi; and DSI Deputy Director General: International Cooperation and Resources, Daan du Toit; among others.

The two organisations have agreed to collaborate in the areas of AI, distributed ledger technologies and IoT.

The new coalition will call for the promotion of multi-stakeholder partnerships to facilitate technical training in response to the demand for new skills; the transfer of new technologies; and leveraging investment on required infrastructure for digital transformation.

In terms of the agreement, C4IR.CO will, as part of the World Economic Forum (WEF) network of Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, work closely with the South African C4IR, which is also an affiliate of the WEF network, to develop frameworks and guidelines on new-age technology to leverage digital growth opportunities across its global network.

The C4IR SA, hosted at the CSIR, provides a platform for stakeholders in South Africa to work together on the evolution of new technologies.

Dr Dlamini said: “We are delighted about this strategic partnership with a partner such as C4IR.CO. We look forward to sharing our expertise, to advance the responsible deployment of 4IR technologies for improved competitiveness and inclusion.”

Dr de Almeida added: “Tackling common challenges by the use of data, technology adoption and technology governance is one of the main goals of the global network of Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution of the World Economic Forum. Aiming at agile international cooperation, this agreement between Colombia and South Africa represents an opportunity to develop joint projects on topics such as government transparency or the ethical and just use of artificial intelligence.”

According to information supplied, the implementation of the collaboration will be facilitated through a joint working group, whose duties will be to oversee the relationship between the organisations, including identifying programmes; developing action plans to implement and monitor the programmes; and implementing programmes in conformity with jointly agreed guidelines.

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