China highly values artificial intelligence (AI) development and is making huge efforts to develop a new generation of AI technologies, an official from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) said on May 19. China has initiated two batches of key projects on new generation AI technologies, with the investment amounting to about $140.7 million, said Qin Yong, Director General of the Department of High and New Technology of the MOST. These key projects target those AI technologies that are the world’s cutting-edge and in line with the national strategic needs, Qin said.
Support will focus on five scientific research themes: data intelligence, swarm intelligence, cross-media intelligence, man-machine hybrid intelligence and intelligent system. To facilitate the development of the new generation AI, the MOST has already made systematic arrangements from studies on basic theories, key technologies, supporting systems and industrial applications, Qin said. In 2017, the State Council issued a plan for new generation AI development. The plan said the AI industry should become a major new growth engine.
CHINA Personal Information Protection China is drafting a law on personal information protection, according to the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee. A draft of the law has taken shape and will be submitted to the Standing Committee of the NPC, China’s top legislature, for review after a revision at an early date, according to the commission.
In recent years, the NPC and its Standing Committee have formulated provisions concerning personal information security and protection in multiple laws, including the cybersecurity law, general rules of the civil code, criminal law and e-commerce law. The commission and the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission began their research and drafting of the law on personal information protection in 2018.
ZAMBIA Enhancing Cybersecurity
A consortium of social organizations on May 15 called on telecommunications operators and other digital players to enhance cybersecurity for Internet users. The Working Group on Cyber Laws and Digital Security in Zambia said the call was in view of increased online transactions due to the outbreak of the COVID-19. The organizations said some measures such as allowing workers to operate from homes enabled workers to spend extended time remotely logging into secure computer network systems. Vusumuzi Sifile, Executive Director of the Panos Institute Southern Africa, one of the organizations, called on relevant government agencies to focus more on minimizing the chances of cyber breaches and protecting citizens against cybercrime.
GHANA Deepening Financial Inclusion
Ghana launched three innovative policies on May 18 to further deepen financial inclusion for rapid growth in the economy. The three policies, including the national financial inclusion and development strategy developed in collaboration with the World Bank, aimed at increasing financial inclusion from 58 percent to 85 percent by 2023 and creating economic opportunities to reduce poverty. The government has also launched the digital financial service policy, which is built on existing technological gains to create a resilient, inclusive and innovative digital ecosystem that contributes to social development, a robust economy, and a thriving private sector.
BOTSWANA Supporting Athletes And Creative Artistes
About $7.2 million will be spent to cushion local athletes and creative artistes from the consequences of COVID-19, an official in Botswana, said on May 18. Describing it as “massive social and economic” support, Tumiso Rakgare, the Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development Minister, said at least 735 footballers, 980 artistes and some 8,533 young people running small to medium-sized enterprises specializing in fashion design will benefit from the program. Botswana banned all social gatherings to curb the spread and transmission of COVID-19.
HEAD OF POLICY AND HEALTH DIPLOMACY AT THE AFRICA CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
Chinese assistance to Africa in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic has been crucial to contain the danger posed by the disease. The successful ANTI-COVID-19 experience from China has been an inspiration to us.