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UNIDO, Shanghai Municipality and MIIT launch AIM Global Centre of Excellence at World AI Conference 2024

06 July 2024

Picture:  Director General Gerd Müller and Mr. Jin Zhuanglong, Minister of Industry and Information Technology of China

Shanghai, July 4 2024 - Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a pivotal role in enhancing productivity across various sectors by automating repetitive tasks, optimizing processes, and providing data-driven insights. During the opening ceremony of the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) 2024 held in Shanghai, UNIDO Director General Gerd Müller inaugurated the new Global Alliance on AI for Industry and Manufacturing Centre of Excellence (AIM Global CoE) together with Mr. Jin Zhuanglong, Minister of Industry and Information Technology of China. The establishment of the new UNIDO AIM Global CoE in Shanghai is supported by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), and the Shanghai Municipal People's Government.

In his remarks at the opening ceremony of WAIC 2024 Director General Müller highlighted: “Digitalization and AI are game changers for developing countries. UNIDO stands ready to be an implementation partner for the new UN Resolution on AI to ensure that developing countries, especially LDCs, benefit equally from AI. With our Global Alliance on AI for Industry and Manufacturing, UNIDO offers a bridge between industrialized countries, the private sector, academia and developing countries. China is a superpower in industrialization, digitalization, and a leader in Artificial Intelligence. With our new joint AIM Global Centre of Excellence in Shanghai, we will be able to increase our support to promote best-practices and technology transfer to the Global South, so that those countries can benefit from the great potential of AI for development, and contribute to bridging the global digital divide.”

The opening ceremony of the conference featured a distinguished line-up of speakers, starting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, followed by Director General Müller, the New Development Bank’s President Dilma Rousseff and others.

In his remarks at the Ministerial Roundtable on “Global AI Governance Forum”, Director General Müller emphasized the importance of robust governance frameworks in the rapidly evolving AI landscape to address the risks and the opportunities associated with AI, and stressed the urgency of “using this pioneering technology responsibly and enabling developing countries to use and benefit from it as well.”

Opening Ceremony of WAIC 2024

Müller highlighted the critical role of AI in driving global development and the importance of international cooperation in shaping the technological future of technology and industry. In manufacturing, AI-driven automation and predictive maintenance reduces downtime and increases resource efficiency. In agriculture, AI-powered tools monitor crop health and optimize resource use, leading to higher yields. The healthcare sector benefits from AI in diagnostics, personalized treatment plans, and efficient administrative processes. In finance, AI improves risk assessment, fraud detection, and customer service. By driving innovation and enabling smarter decision-making, AI significantly boosts productivity, reduces use of scarce resources, and drives growth in productive sectors.

UNIDO Deputy to the Director General Ciyong Zou attended the main forum on industrial development to showcase UNIDO’s contributions and insights. Zou stressed UNIDO’s commitment inclusive and sustainable economic and industrial development. The Organization’s vision is to empower industries with digital technology, promote a prosperous and sustainable economy, and help build an inclusive and climate-resilient society.

In his remarks, Zou highlighted the recent resolution on strengthening international cooperation in AI capacity building, adopted by the 78th United Nations General Assembly on July 1. The resolution emphasizes the importance of developing AI that is people-oriented and serves the greater good, calling for international cooperation to advocate for fair and inclusive AI governance. UNIDO leverages China's extensive expertise to promote equitable AI development. 

With Vice Minister of MIIT, Mr. Shan Zhongde
With the Mayor of Shanghai, Gong Zheng

During his visit to Shanghai, Director General Müller also met the Vice Minister of MIIT, Shan Zhongde, discussing opportunities for enhanced cooperation in AI industrial policy and personnel exchanges. He also met with the Mayor of Shanghai, conferring on regional AI development initiatives and opportunities arising from the joint establishment of the new AIM Global CoE. They discussed Shanghai’s leading industries such as integrated circuit semi deductors and pharmaceuticals as well as initiatives to upgrade traditional industrial sectors. Director General Müller pointed out how the UNIDO Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) in Shanghai can assist by sharing international experience, especially in innovative areas such as low-carbon and green industry, and facilitate investments and joint project abroad in developing countries.

The UNIDO delegation also visited the Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (SAIRI), where the new UNIDO AIM Global Centre of Excellence will be located. A visit to the Shanghai Bailonggang Sewage Treatment Plant highlighted innovative sustainability practices in urban infrastructure and green energy.

At Shanghai Bailonggang Sewage Treatment Plant
At the Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (SAIRI)
Meeting with the Mayor of Shanghai, Gong Zheng