Africa Must Approach XR Development with Care – Ursula Owusu

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications and Digitalization, has called for a cautious approach to the development of extended reality (XR) in Africa.

This is especially important when taking into consideration the interdependencies in technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) for software algorithms, connectivity, and video standards for visualization, amongst other things.

Emerging as an umbrella word for all of the immersive technologies is the term “XR.” Extended reality, often known as XR, is an umbrella term that refers to computer-generated settings that either combine the real and virtual worlds or provide users with a completely virtual experience.

In her keynote address at the 2022 International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Academic Conference Kaleidoscope in Accra, she stated that “this careful approach will include a contextually appropriate digital strategy, policies, and programs that create a conducive setting for developing talent, research, accessibility, connectivity, and critical infrastructure.” “This careful approach will include a contextually appropriate digital strategy, policies, and programs.”

She thinks that this will lead to more collaboration between the government, academic institutions, local entrepreneurs, and members of civil society so that the huge potential of XR can be used for everyone’s benefit.

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Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful stated that the world has recently witnessed major advancements in emerging technologies in virtual, augmented, and mixed realities, which are being deployed increasingly in business as well as in the more developmental areas of science, health, and education. She acknowledged the importance of technological advancement in promoting sustainable growth in Africa.

The ministry of communications and digitalization, citing recent research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), stated that extended reality (XR) will have huge effects on the economy of the entire world.

has the possibility of adding an additional $1.5 trillion to its value by the year 2030.

“However, immersive technologies are still a very small subset of the market, and even in highly developed cultures, their adoption is not nearly as ubiquitous as it could be.” It is still a pipe dream for those who are the least connected, but also happen to be the ones who may have the most need for these emerging technologies.

While the focus of this year’s Kaleidoscope is on enhancing the quality of the experience for extended realities, we must not lose sight of the fact that there are obstacles that might result in around 3.7 billion people being left behind and unconnected.

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“These barriers, including a lack of awareness, the need for advanced capabilities (skills and capacity development), limited access (XR hardware and software), and affordability, are hurdles on our path to harnessing the full potential of extended realities,” she said. “This is especially true in societies where people do not have as many resources as others.”

Improving the overall quality of the XR experience

According to Dr. Collins Yeboah-Afari, Director-General of the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in Information and Communications Technology, studies have shown that if more people were connected to technologies such as augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and virtual reality (VR), all of which fall under the umbrella term “extended reality” (XR), it could transform everything from healthcare and education to sports and tourism, as well as other industries on our continent and around the world.

He explained that in order to do this, you need to use the right technologies and build up your skills in both advanced and exponential technologies.

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According to Dr. Yeboah-Afari, “this is the reason why we at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT (GI-KACE), as part of our mandate, are concerned about training people in data science, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT), among other things, while advancing research in those areas.”

So, since the government is in charge of the country’s digitalization plan, he pushed for the creation of partnerships and connections between the public and private sectors, academia, and industry in order to move XR forward and improve the overall quality of the experience.

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