During the 2nd Assises de la Francophonie Scientifique held from 26 to 28 October 2022 in Cairo (Egypt), and focused on artificial intelligence (AI), the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) launched a new international network on intelligence artificial (RéFiA).
The project to create an international research network on artificial intelligence was finally realized on October 27, 2022 during the Assises de la Francophonie Scientifique by the conduct of the Constituent General Assembly (AGC) which brought together representatives of 26 universities. .
The RéFiA network aims to become a key AI player in French-language higher education and research. Its mission will be to strengthen French-speaking university excellence by developing a scientific and collective dynamic around AI. The network brings together researchers from the member countries of La Francophonie, international organizations and socio-economic actors.
Among other objectives, the RéFIA will contribute to:
- Strengthen the relationships between francophone research actors, institutional actors and economic actors in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI);
- To consolidate relationships between researchers from various fields and interested in artificial intelligence (AI);
- Promote francophone research in the field of artificial intelligence;
- The development of innovative initiatives in the field of AI;
- To the increase of scientific co-productions and the sharing of experiences.
At the opening of the Constitutive General Assembly, prof. Slim KHALBOUS, Rector of AUF, welcomed the launch of this network of AUF members which strengthens existing initiatives in different countries or regions. He is delighted that La Francophonie Scientifique has a new international player specializing in artificial intelligence.
In her speech, Ms Cécile HUET, Head of the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Unit at DG CNECT of the European Commission, welcomed the creation of this international network and stressed the need to develop synergies between French-speaking universities in the field of the AI.
About thirty representatives of the following institutions took part in this founding meeting, both face-to-face and remotely:
- Senegalese Artificial Intelligence Association (Senegal)
- Burkina Institute of Technology (Burkina Faso)
- African Center for Artificial Intelligence Research (Congo)
- Higher Research Center – Maronite University of the Holy Spirit of Kaslik (Lebanon)
- National School of Infotronics (Haiti)
- Information Technology Research and Training Institute (IFRI). University of Abomey-Calavi (Benin)
- IVADO Institute of the University of Montreal (Canada)
- Higher Institute of Distance Education (Guinea)
- Antonine University (Lebanon)
- Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca (Romania)
- University of Bordeaux Montaigne (France)
- Central University “Marta Abreu” of Las Villas Cuba (Cuba)
- University of Alexandria (Egypt)
- University of Balamand (Lebanon)
- University of Geneva (Switzerland)
- University of Lubumbashi (DR Congo)
- Denis Sassou Nguesso University (Congo)
- University of Quebec in Montreal (Canada)
- French University of Egypt (Egypt)
- Gaston Berger University of Senegal (Senegal)
- Polytechnic University of Bucharest (Romania)
- Polytechnic University of Timisoara (Romania)
- Senghor University (Egypt)
- Virtual University of Senegal (Senegal)
The founding members of RéFiA adopted the proposed statutes and proceeded to elect the members of the office to the following offices:
- President: Mr. KIYINDOU André Alain, teacher-researcher, UNESCO Chair, University of Bordeaux, France
- Vice-President: Mr. NDOUMBA Éric Armel, General Coordinator of CARIA, Brazzaville, Congo
- Secretary General: Mr. EZIN Cokou Eugène, Director of IFRI, University of Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou, Benin
- Treasurer: Mr BA Cheikh, Research Professor at Gaston Berger University in Saint Louis, Senegal