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by Ismail Akwei, at 11:58 pm, March 13, 2018, Tech & Innovation

#TIT: African countries taking giant steps in robotics

Africa is rapidly catching up with the Western world in the field of robotics. Robots are being created in the continent and programmed to help undertake difficult tasks and carry out complex actions automatically.

Last year, 40 African countries participated in the maiden FIRST Global international robotics competition for students in the United States where Benin and Liberia ranked in the top 12 among the 163 nations.

Their tasks were to build robots which will accomplish engineering tasks as a global society to solve water crisis.

Outside Africa, robots are being equipped with Artificial Intelligence technology that allows them to act and speak like humans as well as make facial expressions. An example is the humanoid robot Sophia which was developed by American company Hanson Robotics.

Sophia has a porcelain skin with other features including a slender nose, high cheekbones, an intriguing smile, and deeply expressive eyes that seem to change colour with the light.

The robot has been interviewed around the world and featured on several TV shows and at major conferences including the United Nations General Assembly. She was recently offered Saudi citizenship, making her the first robot to be granted citizenship of any country.

Concerns have been raised in Africa about robots taking over jobs of young people. The United Nations revealed in 2016 that robots will take away two-thirds of jobs in developing countries.

The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed also raised concerns last year saying: “The influence of technology on our society should be determined by actions of humans and not by machines. If technological progress is not managed well, it risks exacerbating existing inequalities.”

Here are African countries that have produced, and are significantly utilizing robots to solve local problems.

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