Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its application in Africa has the potential to drive innovation in industry and shape the societal landscape of tomorrow. While Africa was largely absent from the Internet Revolution there is now a growing realisation of the importance of technology in building societal prosperity. With growth in learning and communication, and with several strong and internationally competitive universities there is substantial interest in AI from faculty and students in the region.

Yet the region has not expanded fast enough to fully realise the opportunities presented and there is now a rapidly growing need for talent, infrastructure, and funding to support innovation. To move beyond the hype and be competitive with the substantial accumulation of resources in North America and more recently in Asia, requires efforts on a magnitude far greater than any previous spanning academia and industry. This has led to the formation of Cirrus, to bring about a step change in the research and application of AI in the region and the establishment of the AI Africa Consortium.

The establishment of the AI Africa Consortium, led by the University of the Witwatersrand, aims to provide a mechanism to bring together various role-players who have a vested interest in the success and sustainability of Cirrus. The Consortium Members are comprised of universities, research organisations and government agencies. These institutions are the primary beneficiaries of the infrastructure, engineering capacity, and learning programs developed as part of Cirrus. Therefore, through the Consortium these institutions will be granted the opportunity to provide feedback, help promote the activities and shape the future direction of Cirrus.