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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Morocco’s UM6P, Oracle Pledge to Accelerate Digital Economy in Africa

Morocco’s Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) and the world’s giant database management company Oracle Corporation have pledged to cooperate on research and development and further boost digitalization in the African continent.

UM6P is hosting a two-day event with the attendance of Oracle’s CEO Safra Ada Catz as well as several other representatives from the corporation, the OCP Group, and the Moroccan government.

At a ceremony UM6P hosted to welcome Oracle representatives and senior members of the Moroccan government, the university’s president, Hicham El Habti, noted the school’s conviction that interactions between business and research are indispensable for economic and social growth. As such, he explained, UM6P has long been determined to forge dialogue, engagement, and partnerships with leaders in the corporate world.

El Habti made his remarks at the Oracle Lab announcement today at Morocco’s Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P). First of its kind in Africa, the Oracle Lab is located at Casanearshore Park in Casablanca and is expected to have a total of 100 researchers operating in the research and development and the IT industry.

The researchers will have access to Oracle’s cloud, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technologies aimed at addressing emerging challenges related to business, science, and the public sector.

El Habti stressed that Africa has witnessed significant changes in the last decade and has specifically accelerated its digital transformation to meet emerging challenges in today’s fast-moving and increasingly digitized world. “Ten years ago, only 13% of Africans were estimated to have access to the internet, the number exceeded 43% today,” he noted.

In his speech, the UM6P president highlighted Morocco’s efforts in implementing development projects related to infrastructure, boosting investments, and showing “serious commitment to the continent’s development”.

El Habti also recalled UM6Ps main ambition of fostering education, research, and innovation to reach sustainable development in Morocco and beyond, noting, “we are aware that our development model will be unique as it aims to respond to the needs of our continent.”

Speaking of digitization in Africa, he stressed that there is an “African digital revolution in the making,” with several research areas, mainly food security, renewable energy, and sustainable nutrition having adopted a digital approach that contributes to the continent’s growth toward a social change.

Speaking to MWN, UM6P professor Rachid Guerraoui emphasized that Morocco’s human talents constitute a significant asset for the country in today’s knowledge-driven globalized economy.

The visit of Oracle’s CEO today in Morocco testifies that Morocco and Africa in general has this [human] talent and we need to make such that such young potentials stay in the country and contribute to the IT industry,” Professor Guerraoui said.

Ghita Mezzour, Minister Delegate for Digital Transition and Administrative Reform, told MWN that Oracle Lab’s investment in research and development in Morocco “is a testimony that Moroccan youth are qualified and trained in the latest technologies.”

In 2021, the university inaugurated Africa’s most powerful supercomputer, with the mission of playing a front-seat role in Morocco’s — and Africa’s by extension — quest to be part of the global conversation in areas such artificial intelligence and smart or sustainable agriculture.

The university also launched the “AgriFood Tech” incubator, an initiative for startups in the agricultural sector, earlier this year, in addition to other efforts to support tech startups.

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