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The Industry Engagement Forum 2024 held at the UPSA auditorium on Thursday, May 23 focused on the crucial role of artificial intelligence (AI) in driving technological advancement in Africa, particularly in the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The theme, ‘Industry Driving AI & 4IR in Africa’, underscored the significance of collaborative efforts for digital transformation in Ghana.

The event was a pivotal platform where industry experts and thought leaders converged to explore the transformative potential of AI in driving technological progress across Africa.

Throughout the forum, discussions revolved around the theme, highlighting the crucial role of collaborative pathways in navigating the digital transformation landscape in Ghana and beyond.

One of the central aspects emphasized during the event was the importance of leveraging AI for sustainable growth and innovation in the African context.

Experts shared insights on how AI can be harnessed to address challenges and seize opportunities within the region’s technological terrain, paving the way for economic development and enhanced competitiveness.

The forum served as a catalyst for envisioning a future where AI acts as a driving force behind Africa’s technological evolution.

Moreover, the discussions at the forum underscored the necessity of upskilling the African workforce to thrive in the era of AI and the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The focus on ensuring inclusivity in the digital landscape resonated deeply, highlighting the imperative of providing equal access to AI-driven skill development for all members of society.

Ethical considerations surrounding AI deployment were also a key topic, emphasizing the need for a framework that promotes fairness and transparency in the use of AI technologies.

At the forum, a visually impaired employee of the Community Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility Division of the Ghana National Gas Limited Company (GNGLC), Isaac Ansah, who also serves as a link between the company and disability organizations, insightfully demonstrated how he is leveraging technology to enhance his performance at the workplace.

He shared how he proficiently proofreads documents, works with Excel and PowerPoint, sends and receives emails with or without attachments, and replies accordingly using a laptop or desktop, just like any other employee in the office.

When not behind his laptop, he accomplishes tasks using his phone, ensuring he responds to any assigned duties as needed.

Commenting on how technology has impacted his work at Ghana Gas, Mr. Ansah disclosed to the audience how he assisted the IT Division team of Ghana Gas with his expertise to develop a user-friendly scholarship portal to receive applications from prospective beneficiaries of the Ghana Gas Scholarship Scheme.

He then used the platform to call on the presidency for state recognition or honor for Dr. Ben Asante, praising his unwavering support for disability organizations and his pivotal role in offering Mr. Ansah the opportunity to become the first visually impaired individual employed in the energy sector.

Mr. Ansah emphasized that such recognition would serve as great motivation for CEOs of both public and private institutions to emulate.

The event shed light on AI’s potential to drive economic growth and enhance competitiveness in Africa. Insights were shared on addressing challenges and leveraging opportunities in the region’s technological landscape.

The forum provided a platform for stakeholders to exchange ideas and forge partnerships aimed at advancing AI in Africa.

Collaborative efforts were highlighted as essential for harnessing AI for sustainable growth and prosperity.

The forum also emphasized AI’s transformative potential in creating inclusive employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Discussions included ethical considerations and the challenges of ensuring equal access to AI-driven skill development for all segments of society.

Executive Director of the National Service Scheme (NSS) Osei Assibey Antwi, Programme Lead for Education and Skills at Mastercard Foundation Larisa Akrofie, Regional Manager for Seequent – West Africa Seth Miah, Managing Director at Andela-Rwanda Mike Ndimurukundo, Vice President for Institutional Advancement Academic City University Ing. Dr. Lucy Agyepong as well as Staff of the Assistive Technology Centre of the Ghana Blind Union (GBU) were among other invited speakers who graced the occasion.

The Industry Engagement Forum 2024 served as a platform for showcasing the transformative power of AI in enhancing the skills of the African workforce and promoting inclusion for individuals with disabilities.

The collaborative efforts highlighted at the event underscore the collective commitment needed to harness AI for sustainable growth and prosperity in Africa.

The echoes of the forum continue to inspire stakeholders to work together towards leveraging AI’s potential to drive sustainable progress and a brighter future for the region.