A total of 118 Ugandans are set to acquire Artificial Intelligence(AI) skills, courtesy of the German Government development agency (GIZ) together with Refractory Uganda, a tech-skilling academy.

The six months training programs will offer  AI and Machine Learning skills to students at Clarke International University.

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Michael Niyitegeka, the Executive Director Refactory Program noted  that if  Uganda is to take part in the fourth industrial revolution for its social and economic development, its citizens must build capacity in the area Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

He explained that Refactory has received funding to implement this program in Uganda and that part of the funding is covering 50 full scholarships to carefully selected and suitably qualified Ugandans from the private, public and the development sectors in Uganda.

Of these, 50% of the scholarships have been awarded to female candidates on the program.

Niyitegeka explains that the objective of this program, yet to be rolled out to the public at a fee, is to provide learners with actionable knowledge and an understanding of AI and data science applications in the local contexts.

“Now we need to get to a level where we are using AI  to solve our problems . That’s why having AI skills is  very important for us to have the skills. Right now, Uganda is majorly a consumer of the technologies since  we are not actively delivering solutions. This program will therefore help equip Ugandans with AI skills that can help us solve problems,” Niyitegeka said.

He said that  66% of the candidates for the AI pilot program are drawn from the private the sector, 16% from the public sector while 9% from the NGO world.

Niyetegeka said he  is optimistic that the program will  beneficial to people served by the financial, agricultural, health and telecom sectors.

“The program is bringing together people from a multitude of sectors and for us that is where the value is because what we want is a program to be applicable for people to apply. We are not just looking for software engineers but we are looking for people who will acquire the skills to go and apply them in the real industry.”

Ivan Mukiibi, AI Technical Advisor at GIZ Fair Forward, said considering the interest expressed by the public, the organisation decided to increase the targeted number of candidates from 50 to 118 for this pilot program in order to maximize on its mandate of capacity building in the Artificial Intelligence for developing countries.

Rose Clarke Nayonga, the Vice Chancellor Clarke International University, said in the fourth industrial revolution, human resource managers and generally employers ought to focus more on practical solutions offered instead of a person’s qualifications.