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EAI International Conference on ICT for Development for Africa

September 25–27, 2017 | Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Prof. Lou Boves

Lou Boves received his PhD degree in 1984, from the Catholic University Nijmegen, today Radboud University Nijmegen, where he was appointed full professor in Language and Speech Technology in 1998. From 1995 to 2000 Lou Boves has worked as a part-time consultant to KPN Research and KPN Telecom (at the time the national telecommunications company in the Netherlands). He went into retirement in 2011.
Lou Boves has originated and coordinated a large number of national and European projects on automatic speech synthesis, automatic speech recognition, speaker verification, language modelling and speech-language resources. He has published a large number of papers in journals such as The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Speech Communication, Computer Speech and Language, EURASIP Journal on Audio, Speech, and Music Processing, IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing, Computational Linguistics, Computational Linguistics in the Netherlands Journal, Traitement Automatique des Langues, Journal of Writing Research. In addition, he has contributed to many papers in conferences such as Interspeech and ICASSP.
Since many years Lou Boves is also involved in research that aims to apply the insights gained in developing automatic language and speech processing systems for simulating human speech and language processing.


Prof. Mammo Muchie

Title: Making Africa’s Integrated Sustainable Development through New Innovation System 


More resources still flow out of Africa than what comes in from outside. Africa is a donator and it is not donated. Africa too develops those who claim to donate to Africa by a huge amount of its wealth flowing out without interruption. There is a need without fail to find new, creative and innovative ways to create an integrated sustainable development path by using the innovation system approach now more at a time when the world is now going through exponential technology, digitalisation and the knowledge economy that has earned the description of the 4th industrial revolution. Still, Africa is in the mineral, raw material, and agricultural value chain at a time when the global value chain is driven by the exponential technology driven with digital, nanotechnology, biotechnology and cognitive technology.

Africa cannot copy the economic growth linear path that has brought nature damage and unemployment, inequality, and poverty.  We need to innovate an economic system with validation criteria where nature, human and economic gains are the output to measure productivity. Africa has to break out of the narrow only for profit global value chain. It must go for co-evolution not a linear path of both profit and non-profit social and nature wellness gains. A new transformative innovative economic path that combines nature and social wellbeing is urgently required. A new innovation imagination is needed to bring about a totally new humane and green innovative economic growth. Wellbeing multiplication not subtraction, nature safety rather than damage must re-engineer the whole African innovative economic growth future. A new innovation and sustainable and integrated system that synthesises with creativity and innovation state with private, market with planning and economics with politics, to make profit with non-profit and social entrepreneurship, not individual entrepreneurship is critical to make a  new sustainable integrated African development system by embedding a total invention, innovation, learning culture. Africa has to embark on a new co-evolutionary path by applying knowledge, learning, innovation, competence building for developing a sustainable integrated African knowledge economy. A new Pan African innovation system by learning and building from the past inventions, innovation by using Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to create jobs for the youth in Africa and transform the agriculture, mineral and raw material economy is critical. The keynote will address how the new transformative innovation system approach can be applied to generate a new co-evolutionary integrated and sustainable African development to move Africa from the raw material, mineral, and agriculture value chain to the knowledge economy global value chain.


Professor Mammo Muchie holds a DPhil in Science, Technology, and Innovation for Development (STI&D) from the University of Sussex. UK. He is currently a DST/NRF rated Research Professor at the Faculty of Management Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa. He is a fellow of the South African Academy of Sciences and the African Academy of Sciences. He is also currently adjunct Professor at the Adama Science, Technology University, Arsi University, Addis Ababa University and University of Gondar, Ethiopia. He has been senior research associate at the SPMTDC programme and also has become Senior Research Associate at the TMD Centre of Oxford University. He is collaborating with researchers (DILIC) on the potential research areas of Africa-China industrial high-technology sectors. He has been invited as Associate Faculty professor at Sussex University, UK for the next three years; at the University of Economics in Prague as visiting professor, Jawarahal Nehru University India, Tonji and Shanghai University, China; Honorary Professor Jiaxing University, China, Assistant Professor Amsterdam University, Visiting Professor Carleton College, USA; Principal Lecturer, Middlesex University, Professor, Aalborg University; Part–time Lecturer, Cambridge University; Honorary Professor UNISA. Professor Mammo held various positions globally, including the Director of the Research Programme on Civil Society and African Integration at the then University of Kwa Zulu-Natal; board member at the North-Western University, Chengdu, China

He is currently the chairman of the advisory board of African Talent hub of the Community Interest Company (registration no.10461990) to raise funds for making Africa the talent, innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and knowledge hub of the world. He has been appointed as special distinguished advisor to the Africa Union's Student Council and a mentor for the African Entrepreneurship award. He has initiated the African Unity for Renaissance and Knowledge Exchange series of conferences since the last six years. He is a founding scientific advisor to ´the African Solar network, founding chairman of the Network of Ethiopian scholars. He has lead the SIDA,Sweden-fundedd research on engineering design and on transformative innovation for African integrated development and educate on public media to speed up the creation of innovative and renascent Africa. He is also a co-founding member of the Nano Technology Institute in TUT leading the innovation side of the research.

He is a founding board member of Globelics, focusing research on the challenges of building African innovation systems. He has promoted Africa and highlighted African Innovation and Development in Globelics foundation. He has served as scientific board members in a variety of networks including ICAT, Medalics as part of the founding scientific board member of the network that connects North Africa, with the Middle East and Southern Europe, co-founder of the Africalics network. He taught over 400 doctoral candidates in doctoral academies across the world in the Globelics, Africalics, Cicalics, Indialics networks. He has taken major initiatives for running Doctoral and Masters Academy in various universities in Africa and all over the world. One such academy is recently organised by the Association of Common Wealth Universities. Also, he has been invited for many keynote addresses and lectures in Africa and world-wide.
Perhaps one of the most significant contributions to promote the emerging field on innovation studies in Africa was the South African research Chairs Initiative (SARChI). The first chair on Innovation Studies supported by the DST/NRF in South Africa was awarded to him to promote doctoral and post-doctoral research in Africa.

Prof. Mammo is the chief editor and in the editorial board of many scholarly international journals. His positions in the scholarly journals are as follows; Founder Editor- in- Chief: African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development, Taylor and Francis; Founder Chief editor, The Ethiopian Electronic Journal for Research & Innovation Foresight (Ee-JRIF); Editor, Journal of Agriculture and Economic Development, Founder Editor in chief of the new journal of Creativity, Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship; Editor: Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics, Academic Journals; Editor: Innovation and Development, Taylor and Francis; Editorial Board member of The Nexus Innovation Journal, Tshwane University of Technology; Institute and Economics (Formally Known as International Journal of Institution and Economics), University of Malaya; Ethiopian Journal of Business and Economics (The), African Journals Online; Journal of Social and Economic Development: Official Publication of Institute for Social and Economic Change; Journal of China and International Relations (CIR) , Aalborg University; Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies, Taylor and Francis; Financial Innovation, Springer; Social Epistemology, A Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Policy, Taylor and Francis.


He has been a scientific and academic advisor to the local e-Governance research that involved ten African countries on ICT&D funded by IDRC and managed by CAFRAD. He has been appointed as a consultant on UNESCO’s higher education, Research and Knowledge forum. He has served as a post-doctoral mentor in the NRF national postdoctoral Forum.
He has published in the areas of: international political economy, development economics of innovation and the making of African systems of innovation, and new technologies and development across disciplines. Since 1985, he has produced over 375 publications, including books, chapters in books, and articles in internationally accredited journals and entries in institutional publications. (see

Dr Timnit Gebru

Title: The Importance of AI Research in Africa


Artificial intelligence (AI) is currently one of the most in demand fields. It promises advances in health care, education, agriculture, and sociological studies. Dr Timnit’s research covered by the Economist and other news outlets showed that computer vision applied to Google Street View images could be used to predict income, per capita carbon emission, crime rates and other city attributes in 200 American cities. Her research has also been presented in premier international conferences such as AAAI, CVPR, CHI, ICCV and others which she would like to see participation from African Institutions. A recent AI for good conference organized by the UN in Geneva had 2 black speakers and none of them were researchers working in Africa. In this talk, Dr Timnit will outline the potential of AI to help young researchers work on issues relevant to the African continent. She will also discuss some efforts in various parts of the continent towards this end, and stress the importance of increasing African participation in the field of Artificial Intelligence. Artificial intelligence needs to be seen as a system. And the people creating the technology are a big part of the system. If African researchers are excluded from its creation, this technology will benefit a few while leaving out a great many. And if a small percentage of the world's population dominate this important field (as is happening now), digital exclusion within and between countries and inequality in technology usage will continue to increase. This will happen not only due to the automation caused by AI, but also due to the fact that the problems it solves will be irrelevant to most of the world's population. Therefore, it is important that countries aggressively invest resources into educating our youth, and using Artificial Intelligence to develop some of the solutions that will help us achieve our goals of digital inclusion, industrialization and the socio economic development of the African continent.


Dr Timnit is a young role-model and a PhD graduate from the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Her main research interest lies in data mining large scale publicly available images to gain sociological insight, and working on computer vision problems that arise as a result. The Economist and others have recently covered part of her work. Some of the computer vision areas she is interested in include fine-grained image recognition, scalable annotation of images, and domain adaptation. Prior to joining Stanford Artificial Intelligence lab she worked at Apple designing circuits and signal processing algorithms for various Apple products including the first iPad. She also spent one year as an entrepreneur under the Runway program operated by Innovation Endeavors. Her research is supported by the NSF foundation GRFP fellowship and currently the Stanford DARE fellowship. At present Dr Timnit is a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research, New York working in the Fairness Accountability Transparency and Ethics (FATE) group.