Google Establishes AI Research Center to Combat Food Shortages in Africa


Google has revealed the establishment of an AI research centre as part of its efforts to combat food shortages in Africa.

The announcement came on earlier this week as Google joined the ranks of organizations pledging support for the United Nations (UN’s) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Digital project.

Google’s initiative includes the establishment of an AI centre focused on addressing food insecurity in Africa and the allocation of $25 million in funding for 15 AI projects, including those in Kenya and South Africa, as part of its Global Goals Impact Challenge on AI for the SDGs.

Africa is home to the highest proportion of people facing hunger, with at least one in five Africans experiencing food insecurity, according to the 2022 Global Report on Food Crises 2022 Mid-Year Update.

“In a bid to contribute to the SDG Digital project aimed at getting the Sustainable Development Goals back on track, various entities including the United Nations, private sector companies, financial institutions, international organizations, and charitable foundations have committed financial, strategic, and operational support.”

During the United Nations’ SDG Action Weekend, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized a high-level SDG Digital event to enhance digital backing for the global 2030 Agenda.

Furthermore, the Global Satellite Operators Association (GSOA), along with Google, Microsoft, Millicom, Telenor, ZTE, the Republic of Korea, and the Government of Saudi Arabia, have made substantial commitments to accelerate progress toward universal and meaningful connectivity, as well as long-term digital transformation.

According to the ITU, these commitments build upon more than 750 others totalling over $32 billion that have been gathered since the launch of the Partner2Connect Digital Coalition campaign in February 2022.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed emphasized during the SDG Digital launch that digital technologies, when used responsibly, can serve as catalysts for economic, social, and societal transformation by bringing efficiencies to scale and extending the reach of existing solutions to support a broader population.