Experts Highlight the Potential of Artificial Intelligence for Africa’s Prosperity

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[ACCI-CAVIE] During a panel discussion at the 56th Session of the Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, experts emphasized the significant development opportunities that Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents for Africa.

AI, a rapidly evolving technology that harnesses machine intelligence, is revolutionizing various aspects of society worldwide. Research indicates that by 2030, AI has the potential to contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy, with Africa generating $1.2 trillion. This represents a 5.6% increase in Africa’s gross domestic product.

Strategies for Responsible AI Development:

Fayaz King, Deputy Executive Director of Field Results and Innovation for UNICEF, stressed the importance of ensuring that AI approaches, from development to deployment, serve the public interest. He emphasized the need for governance rooted in humanity to address the known, unknown, and unknowable aspects of AI. Bridging the digital divide and including marginalized communities in AI initiatives were highlighted as crucial strategies.

Regulation and Incentivization:

Baratang Miya, Chief Executive of Girlhype Coders Academy, called for government regulation and incentivization of stakeholders across the AI value chain, with a focus on Small Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). This approach aims to foster innovation, equitable access to AI technologies, and the establishment of ethical frameworks. Data privacy, security, transparency, and accountability in AI systems were identified as key areas for policy development.

Data Democratization and Infrastructure:

To fully leverage AI’s potential, Africa needs to collect and have access to its own data. Governments play a vital role in facilitating data democratization policies. Establishing reliable cloud infrastructure and ensuring access to electricity are critical for hosting proper data and enabling efficient use of AI technologies. Sandra Makumbirofa, Senior Economist at Research ICT Africa, emphasized the transformative potential of AI in enhancing financial inclusion, employment creation, and public service delivery in African economies.

Global Representation and Infrastructure Development:

Ms. Makumbirofa highlighted that most of the market value of AI is concentrated in the United States and China. To safeguard African interests, active participation in global fora is essential. Additionally, the development of infrastructure, such as internet connectivity, is crucial for tapping into the benefits of AI. Mr. Claver Gatete, the UNECA Executive Secretary, emphasized the need for shared technology among countries to avoid duplicating efforts and the importance of infrastructure and energy investment alongside IT infrastructure.


According to the African Centre for Competitive Intelligence (ACCI), AI has the potential to transform Africa and lead it towards sustainable and inclusive development and its adoption by Africans is a major and achievable challenge in the medium term. By addressing key obstacles and implementing appropriate policies and initiatives, the continent can leverage AI to drive economic growth and social development. Dr. Guy Gweth strongly asserts that the ACCI will ensure that the development of AI in Africa is ethical and responsible, as it is crucial to ensure that it does not further deepen existing inequalities or harm the well-being of African populations.

The Editorial team and Africa renewal