Ethiopian PM inaugurates China-aided science museum

(Xinhua) 10:34, October 06, 2022

ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has inaugurated a China-aided state-of-the-art science museum in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

The dome-shaped Africa's first-ever science museum serves as a platform where scientific innovations will be conceived and born to support the growth and development of Ethiopia, Ahmed said after the inauguration ceremony on Tuesday.

"Built in a short timeframe, the museum offers both the young and old a place to inquire, explore, innovate and invent," said Ahmed, highlighting that the museum would play a pivotal role in transforming Ethiopia into a digital economy.

The science museum, which is a major part of China-aided Addis Ababa Riverside Green Development Project Phase II, has two buildings consisting of a research center and a uniquely designed place to preserve ancient and modern technology in different fields.

The facility's circular shape is said to symbolize perpetual development and human wisdom, which is said to serve as a testament to Ethiopia's dedication to the future of technology.

The building of the museum has its halls dedicated to permanent and fleeting science and art exhibitions. It is also equipped with a solar system that will generate the electricity required for the facility.

"Today we find ourselves in a space designed to unleash imagination," Ahmed said, while addressing artificial intelligence (AI) researchers, computational scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and decision-makers at a conference on the same day.

The inauguration ceremony was followed by the official opening of the first annual Pan-African artificial intelligence conference that is taking place at the newly-inaugurated science museum where the technology startups are on display by public and private institutions.

"We believe digital transformation will be a catalyst to super our ambitious economic growth and stay competitive in this globalized and digital era," the premier said, adding that his government is aggressively promoting AI as a key enabler to reduce poverty.

As part of the inaugural ceremony of the museum, the East African nation also hosted the first Pan-African artificial intelligence conference, dubbed PanAfriCon AI 2022 with the motto of "Empowering Africa Through AI."

The conference brought together AI researchers, computational scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, among others, to discuss African strategies towards sustainable development through harnessing AI by exchanging cutting-edge knowledge and applications in several sectors such as agriculture, health care, finance, service industries, geographic information system, cyber security and manufacturing.

Worku Gachena, director general of the Ethiopian Artificial Intelligence Center, told Xinhua that the government of China is not only helping Ethiopia acquire such a state-of-the-art museum but also empowering Ethiopian experts in artificial intelligence.

"We have signed an MoU with the Chinese government, especially to work with them on optical character recognition for African languages. The Chinese have been very supportive of artificial intelligence on capacity building in education and other sectors," Gachena said.

Covering an area of 6.78 hectares, the museum complex rests on a 15,000-meter square of land with a height of 9-meters and carrying two floors.

The main floor contains a visitor's center, two large exhibition halls, an amphitheater and various offices and a cafeteria area. The scenic 360 rooftop houses a solar farm and a roof garden for relaxing outside.

The second part of the science museum is the Dome Theater which is a 3-dimensional cinema with 24-meters height and 450-meter square space and is able to accommodate up to 200 people at a time. 

(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)


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