Microsoft is announcing the establishment of the Africa AI Innovation Council to harness the power of data and artificial intelligence (AI) to boost climate resilience and adaptation efforts in Africa. With membership drawn from organizations led by the African Development Bank, African Risk Capacity, and African Climate Foundation.
The company is at the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Where world and business leaders are gathered to take action on issues critical to tackling the climate emergency. Participating as a strategic technology partner and a principal sponsor, Microsoft is unveiling action-based new climate-focused initiatives.
“The world needs to move faster and COP27 will provide an important forum to move from pledges to progress“, says Microsoft Vice Chair and President, Brad Smith.
In relation to Africa, Microsoft notes there is insufficient reliable climate data. It also lacks data scientists to work with the available data to turn them into insights for decision-making. It is therefore announcing the first global expansion of the AI for Good Lab to Kenya and Egypt. Where data scientists will close the climate data divide and work with local partners to use AI on new climate initiatives.
The Africa AI Innovation Council will convene a high-level, multi-sector group of leaders who understand the issues facing the continent. They will inform the work of the new AI for Good Labs coming to Kenya and Egypt. It will also identify opportunities to improve climate resilience through data and AI. As well as facilitate ways to generate additional climate data and drive continued research.
“Microsoft is making good on its commitment to move beyond pledges to climate action“, says Wael El Kabbany, General Manager, Africa Regional Cluster.
“Given our role as an enabler of a diverse range of digital solutions, Microsoft has a unique responsibility to help governments and organizations to achieve their climate goals through the power of technology. We are committed to accelerating digital transformation in Africa, with a view to helping the continent realize its growing innovation potential in the climate technology space and beyond.”Wael El Kabbany
Africa-based data scientists will also get access to satellite imagery to address challenges nominated by the Africa AI Innovation Council.
In 2020, Microsoft announced plans to be carbon negative by 2030 and to remove from the environment all the carbon the company emitted since its founding by 2050. The company built on this pledge by adding commitments to be water positive and zero waste by 2030. In opening its ultra-modern Africa offices it factored in solutions that reduce or prevent the emission of carbon. Using self-heating windows, solar plants, and a water treatment facility to recycle and purify water. The eco-friendly office also optimizes space utilization and lighting adjustments.
Microsoft is also announcing technical guidance and skilling initiatives to help people achieve sustainability goals with Azure.
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