CENTE-TECH, SUNBIRD AI PARTNER TO PROMOTE INCLUSION FOR CENTENARY GROUP’S CUSTOMERS THROUGH DEPLOYMENT OF AI
By Isaac Wandubile & Samuel Kamugisha
Centenary Group has continued to undertake several initiatives to cement its position as the country’s leader in the adoption of technology to improve service delivery for millions of its clients across Uganda. The latest in a series of these initiatives is the deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the schools, bank branches and health facilities run by the corporation.
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Through its technology company, Centenary Technology Services (Cente-Tech), Centenary Group has this Tuesday morning signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Uganda’s foremost Artificial Intelligence experts, Sunbird AI, with the aim of developing an AI-based innovation ecosystem to facilitate the usage of technology and development of the software applications in Uganda.
According to Dr Grace Ssekakubo, the Chief Executive Officer of Cente-Tech, the strategic partnership with Sunbird AI is aligned towards addressing challenges to equality and inclusion, through the adoption of AI technology. A technology company of Centenary Group, Cente-Tech has a combined ICT industry experience of over 75 years in the public and private sector where it has continued to provide holistic technology solutions and deliver innovation that matter to enable and inspire growth. Cente-Tech’s niche lies in ICT advisory and Research, ICT Managed Services and Infrastructure, as well as ICT Innovation and Digital Services.
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Sunbird AI, the company that Cente-Tech has partnered with, provides high quality, practical, inclusive and afro-centric Artificial Intelligence systems, with a focus on developing open-source applications centered on improving citizen well-being by providing and using better data technology to inform and guide policy decisions. For example, Sunbird AI, which deploys artificial intelligence for social good, has built a text-to-text machine translation system for translating to and from English to the five top local languages of Uganda: Luganda, Ateso, Lugbara, Runyankore and Acholi. Additionally, Sunbird AI has developed Ugandan-made noise monitoring sensors to measure, monitor and record levels of noise and noise pollution across Uganda as part of a larger initiative to do environmental sensing.
Speaking at the signing, Dr Ssekakubo explained that the company has been working with Sunbird AI, Uganda’s premier AI experts, ‘in the background’ until today when the two companies decided to make their partnership official.
“The MoU signed seeks to create a framework for a successful partnership between Cente-Tech and Sunbird AI to create sustainable, scalable projects and initiatives which will leverage the deep expertise of Sunbird AI to support Cente-Tech’s strategic ambitions to utilize modern ICT innovations for socio-economic development among the rural poor,” noted Ssekakubo.
“With the reach we have of over 20 million Ugandans within the Centenary brand, we will help alleviate exclusion through the various Artificial Intelligence applications that Sunbird AI has developed and will develop through this collaboration.”
The partnership comes a few months after Cente-Tech signed an MoU with the Ministry of ICT to offer government advisory services in the area of innovations with the aim of promoting digitization. Further noting that Centenary Group’s brand audience comprises 640 church parishes, over 200 institutions, over 264 hospitals and over 3,300 schools as well as the country’s largest indigenous commercial bank, Ssekakubo added that Cente-Tech has the responsibility to digitize the Group’s services so as to improve efficiency for these 20 million people. It is this audience for which the partnership with Sunbird AI will develop products to promote digitization and improve effectiveness.
Steven Kirenga from Cente-Tech’s Communications Department noted that the reason why the Centenary Group’s technology company had chosen to partner with SunBird AI was because technology has the power to boost inclusion in ways such as instant translation among languages. Kirenga went on to emphasize that inclusion, especially among the rural communities, was key for Centenary Group’s services. “As Centenary, our brand has over 264 hospitals or health centres. When a patient goes to a doctor, they can now in an instant explain their problem in Luganda which can be translated immediately in English for our doctors to understand the symptoms. It means that if someone goes to these 264 locations across the country, they can get improved healthcare from the doctors because using Sunbird’s technology we shall have instant translation because of Artificial Intelligence,” explained Kirenga.
He also assured the over 20 million customers of safety while using Centenary Group’s technology-supported services since Cente-Tech has amassed unmatched experience and skills in cyber security, thanks to partnerships with global players such as Oxford University.
On his part, Sunbird AI’s Executive Director Dr Ernest Mwebaze said: “Our partnership with Centenary Technology Services aims to leverage the considerable reach of Cente-Tech to hospitals and schools by building AI for social good solutions that will positively influence the lives of not only people consuming the vast services of the Centenary group, but to all Ugandans. This is going to be a first step in really working together and leveraging on the wide reach of the Centenary Group that offers services to many Ugandans.” (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 0200900416 or email us at email@example.com).