Rwanda Becomes The First African Country To Leverage Artificial Intelligence In Covid-19 Forecast


March 3, 2021, 11:37 a.m.

The Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) has collaborated with the University of Rwanda (UR) to launch a research project to forecast the situation of the COVID-19 evolving at certain times.

The research project leverages Artificial Intelligence and other Data Science techniques to analyze the accumulated data about the virus and use it in wider studies.

This makes Rwanda the first African country to leverage Artificial Intelligence in predicting the burden of COVID-19 in the environment at certain periods of time.

Dubbed LAISDAR (Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Data Science Techniques in Harmonizing, Accessing, and Analyzing SARS-COV-2/COVID-19 Data in Rwanda), the project is worth about Rwf 1 billion, provided by the International Development Research Center of Canada (IDRC).

Professor Marc Twagirumukiza, LAISDAR’s Project promoter said that with this scheme, researchers will be able to predict how the Covid-19 situation will be faring in particular places of the country so that policymakers can make decisions accordingly,

“We will analyze the available information and come up with forecasts, for example, we can say: ‘In this or that district, the forecast of Covid-19 will be like this or that in the next two weeks,” he said.

“With this, policymakers will be able to know what is coming, and thus take easier measures, other than waiting for the situation to get worse and take tougher decisions,” he added.

Speaking about the project, Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, the Director-General of RBC said it will increase the existing capabilities in preventing and responding to Covid-19 and other pandemics using real-time data and predictions that are much more precise than before.

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With such in place, he said, leaders will be assisted in making evidence-based decisions.

Clarrise Musanabaganwa, the Project Deputy Principal Investigator said that with assistance from foreign partners like Belgian universities, there will be capacity building for Rwandans in terms of analyzing data under the project, and about this kind of technology.

According to officials, the same approach is also applicable for other diseases and pandemics like the Ebola virus, Influenza, and others.


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