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Artificial Intelligence in Africa

Building on the AI & Data series, we are working with partners on a number of AI policy initiatives. This includes a peer-learning programme with policy makers from five African countries and an observatory on responsible AI.

Peer learning and capacity building programme for policy makers from Africa and Asia on AI

With support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the HSRC has been implementing a programme to enhance the capacity of policy makers from Asia and Africa to respond to the challenges and benefits of AI in by designing and implementing policies that promote use of AI in ways that are inclusive, responsible, and sustainable. The programme seeks to create platforms for knowledge exchange and peer learning between policymakers and decisionmakers to foster meaningful networks and relationships between different countries and contexts.

The programme aims to be context-specific by addressing some of the most significant challenges facing partner countries, such as improving access to service delivery, strengthening levels of regional and domestic security, and creating more diverse and representative AI workforces. This is complemented by continuous support for, and promotion of, respect for human rights and democratic governance, and by paying specific attention to institutionalising policy frameworks for responsible use of AI and technology, as well as appropriate regulations and protocols for data governance and information sharing.

Based on the programme, we have developed a handbook for universities and training providers that may want to setup a similar initiative, as well as a self-learning version for policy makers hosted on Atingi.

African Observatory on Responsible AI

In partnership with Research ICT Africa (RIA) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the African Observatory on Responsible AI seeks to position the African continent as a leading voice in global debates and policymaking in responsible AI. The Observatory will accomplish this by collaborating with local and global thematic partners across Sub-Saharan Africa to deepen understanding of AI and its effects in Africa; promote the development and implementation of locally appropriate, evidence-led AI policies and enabling legislation; and to strengthen the capacity of researchers across the continent in understanding the effects of AI and influencing responsible AI policymaking. The Observatory will publish thematic state of AI in Africa research reports which will offer insight into the immediate concerns, risks and benefits, and the longer-term implications of AI in diverse African societies. The thematic research priorities of the Observatory are: (1) the impacts of AI on race, gender and ethnicity; (2) the impacts of AI on democracy, and particularly elections; and (3) enabling legislation for public integrity and corporate accountability in relation to AI on a national and regional level.

Photo by Shalom Mwenesi on Unsplash