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Interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence for Development (CITADEL)

Artificial intelligence (AI) holds great promise for the development of nations. However, up till now, the academic literature in this field and the products available on the market mainly reflect the perspectives of major universities in developed countries as well as the giants of the digital industry. AI’s potential to address the challenges of least-developed countries has not yet been fully demonstrated or utilized.

Examples on the use of AI for development are widely available and help to create a general theory of the need for AI for development. However, in practice, research efforts in French-speaking Africa lack the resources to:

1. analyze, evaluate and contribute to basic AI research knowledge from an African perspective
2. think holistically about the implementation and deployment of AI models in contextualized real-world applications
3. scale up skills (considering less-represented social strata, including gender) to boost the local AI industry
4. systematically demonstrate AI’s risks with a view to educating governments and civil society about the inadequacies of local regulations

Burkina Faso (and French-speaking Africa in general) will only be able to overcome these challenges in a sustainable and profound way through the establishment of an interdisciplinary team in which each member brings a different perspective to the issue.

The Interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence in AI for Development (CITADEL) will welcome researchers from Burkina Faso (and the sub-region) seeking a conducive environment to conduct high-quality and globally competitive research that is interdisciplinary and relevant to the African context. CITADEL will also train new talent in versatile skills to meet the needs of local industry and research.

Project ID
Project Status
30 months
IDRC Officer
Matthew Smith
Total Funding
CA$ 1,057,100.00
North of Sahara
South of Sahara
Education and Science
Artificial Intelligence for Development
Institution Country
Burkina Faso
Université Virtuelle du Burkina Faso