On 23rd July 2022, the “China-Africa Innovation Forum on African Character Recognition Technology” co-organized by Huazhong University of Science and Technology, the Ethiopian Artificial Intelligence Institute and the China-Africa Innovation Conference, was held in Wuhan city, capital of Hubei Province.
The Forum was attended by Embassy delegation led by Ambassador Teshome Toga, in-person while H.E Engineer Worku Gachena, Director-General of the Ethiopian Artificial Intelligence Institute joined via online.
Speaking on the Forum, Ambassador Teshome congratulated the people and the Municipal People’s Government of Wuhan for successfully hosting the Forum after their brave fight against and the victory they have achieved in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that Ethiopia stood in full solidarity with China and in return the people and government of China also stood in solidarity with Ethiopia during its fight against the pandemic.
Speaking about Ethiopia-China diplomatic relationship, the ambassador highlighted on the two countries strong friendship for more than half a century and recalled that their diplomatic ties has been elevated to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership (CSCP) in 2017. Furthermore, he noted that Ethiopia and China are working in tandem both under the frameworks of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to ensure sustainable development especially in infrastructure connectivity, industrialization, economic development and people to people ties. He also highlighted on the exemplary role that Ethiopia plays when it comes to its relations with China under the South-South cooperation framework.
Moreover, the Ambassador recalled on one of the nine priority goals put forth by the 8th FOCAC ministerial conference which was held last year in Senegal, Dakar, which is fast tracking the digital innovation program and shared his high hopes that this Forum and the research work that the Huazhong University of Science and Technology and the Ethiopian Artificial Intelligence Institute will do together will further strengthen the cooperation between Africa and China in the sector and that it will also help properly document the African script.
H.E Engineer Worku Gachena, Director-General of the Ethiopian Artificial Intelligence Institute on his part noted that Ethiopia has the first built Artificial Intelligence Institute in Africa and that the Institute is ready and committed to collaborate with China, particularly with Huazhong University of Science and Technology to which both institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a research and development laboratory that will focus on African character recognition technology.
In addition, Dr. Wondimu Gebre, who developed the first real-world benchmarking datasets for the detection and recognition of Ethiopic script in natural scene images, presented his research work.