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Mapping policy and capacity for artificial intelligence for development in Africa

Artificial intelligence (AI) techniques are poised to enhance productivity, innovation, and help countries across sub-Saharan Africa achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. However, as with any technology, the potential transformative benefits come with challenges that need to be managed and moderated. For example, applied AI can have ramifications on already precarious livelihoods, threaten basic human rights, and undermine democratic processes.

Earlier research established that unlocking AI’s potential and mitigating its prospective harms are key for advancing AI policy that promotes responsible development and deployment. This project seeks to improve understanding of AI policy and capacity in Africa to support responsible AI for development, and it will act as a baseline for future AI programming in Africa.

The project will map AI use, policies, and regulations across Africa. Following this mapping exercise, there will be “deep dives” in four or five countries to explore current AI policy and to understand the needs of policymakers with respect to AI. There will also be more in-depth thematic papers focused on key AI themes such as video surveillance, AI and the future of work, AI and gender, biases of African AI, and climate change. The capacity work will provide funding for three machine-learning doctoral students placed at universities in Francophone Africa, East Africa, and southern Africa. This will test the mechanisms and viability of subsidies for supporting masters and doctoral students.

Project ID
109307
Project Status
Active
Duration
38 months
IDRC Officer
Matthew Smith
Total Funding
CA$ 570,000.00
Location
Kenya
Senegal
South of Sahara
South of Sahara
Programs
Education and Science
Education and Science
Networked Economies
Institution Country
South Africa
Institution
Research ICT Africa
Institution Country
Kenya
Project Leader
Isaac Rutenberg
Institution
Strathmore University
Institution Country
South Africa
Project Leader
Naila Govan-Vassen
Institution
Research ICT Africa
Institution Country
South Africa
Project Leader
Vukosi Marivate
Institution
University of Pretoria