Accelerating African AI Innovation

Artificial intelligence (AI), a critical driver of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), has the potential to transform all aspects of life. For Africa, this opportunity is significant but requires nuanced consideration. Research by Microsoft suggests that technology has the potential to contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. $1.2 trillion of this could be generated in Africa, representing a 5.6 per cent increase in the continent’s gross domestic product by 2030.

AI holds the potential to accelerate solutions to complex challenges such as access to healthcare, advancements in agricultural productivity, and climate positive growth. However, AI also presents several risks for the continent. These include privacy, safety and surveillance, biases and hallucinations, which are exacerbated by critical infrastructure constraints such as access to data, talent, and compute power. 
Axum is working with partners to identify AI-enabled solutions, shape use cases, and support initiatives that advance development agendas, inform policy making, facilitate capital flow, and align research and innovation. A recent study analysed over a hundred use cases to understand key drivers of growth and define underlying ecosystem imperatives including infrastructure, computing, data, governance, and financing. The work informs upcoming research (to be published June 2024) and aims to support Africa’s agenda in shaping AI solutions to drive inclusive growth and prosperity across the continent.