A team of officials and experts led by Mr. Worku Gachena, Director of the Artificial Intelligence Center (AIC) visited Jimma University on Thursday 15th of October, 2020 with the aim of launching partnership between AIC and JU.
The guests were welcomed and discussions held in the presence of delegate of JU’s President Dr. Kenenisa Lemi, V/P for Administration and Students Affairs. Dr. Kenenisa welcomed the delegates, and stressed in his opening remark, that JU is committed to work with partners at local and international levels. Partners, according to him are highly valued and considered as instrumental for achieving the core functional responsibilities of the University. Innovation and software development have been among the prior focuses of the University that it developed several software to enhance its service delivery capacity using own resources. Dr. Kenenisa indicated that most of the software programs designed by JU’s professionals are fully operational and the institution is heading into a paperless campus of which the online planning and reporting Management and Information System is one. He also stated that AI is a young science in Ethiopia and expressed his gratitude for the team’s presence at JU, the institution working towards playing a leading role in the development of the science with the existing huge potential. In his final remark, he expressed the full commitment of the JU’s management to advance the partnership to a highest level and contribute to the national development agenda through the AI.
Mr. Kora Tushune, V/P for Business and Development on his part stressed on the need to go very fast with ever changing world of technology to catch up with quick changes in the global arena. He was quoted saying “to learn is not to follow but to lead” and “we need to join the global technological ecosystem as quick learners and innovators”. He stressed that AI is one of those areas JU need to excel on and that it has unutilized potentials in that regard with startup research projects going on, and with the presence of many young and motivated scientists engaged in teaching and research in the field. The partnership with AI, according to him is highly valued and will enable to utilize already exiting potential at JU.
AI is not a luxury technology as misconceived by many, and it will provide solution for most of the challenges we are facing in service delivery, said Mr. Worku Gachena. It will not replace human beings but will help them to be more efficient in delivering services by minimizing their margin of error. Hence, AI is a key science to be nurtured and developed for advanced use to make our institutions more effective and accurate which is critical to realize our national development agenda. He underlined the need to work with institutions such as JU to synchronize efforts and obtain support in terms of human resources for the ongoing and planned research and development projects at AIC. The partnership with JU according to him, will be instrumental in achieving the aims and objectives of AIC and the success will be measured by the joint innovation of products and services to end users than by only signing the MoU. By this, he called for joining hands to push the partnership forward and achieve concrete results. Later on selected research projects of AI at JU were presented by young researchers and the delegate has also visited the IT Park under construction at JU.
Finally MoU was signed between the representatives of the two institutions.