The rapid uptake of disruptive technologies in Africa, such as mobile and financial technologies, is prompting speculation among tech investors about whether artificial intelligence (AI) applications will also take root on the continent.
A new issue brief by Africa Center Senior Fellow Aleksandra Gadzala, “Coming to Life: Artificial Intelligence in Africa,” mostly throws cold water on the idea. She acknowledges that many African nations still lack the statistical capacity, infrastructure, and good governance necessary to see AI take off. However, in a select handful of countries, AI solutions are already being successfully deployed at scale. Gadzala surveys the state of AI in Africa and discovers what these successful investments have in common, and what African governments need to do to strengthen the ecosystem necessary to see these technologies flourish, focusing on ways to foster a culture of research and innovation, improve investment environments, and strengthen policy frameworks so African nations can reap the full benefits of AI.
This issue brief is part of a partnership between the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center and the OCP Policy Center and is made possible by generous support through the OCP Foundation.