Mr Darlington Akogo, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of MinoHealth Limited and KaraAgro AI, has been tasked as an expert consultant by the African Union (AU).
He would join a team of experts and work towards the development of an AU-Artificial Intelligence (AI) Continental Strategy.
The initiative, which is a one-year project to develop the AU-AI strategy, would involve other experts from the continent.
It has a scope of developing a continental AU-AI strategy that would include legislative, regulatory, ethical, policy, and infrastructural frameworks in consultation with stakeholders such as AU Member States’ governments, private sector, academia, innovators, and consumers.
“Africa aspires to fully harness artificial Intelligence (AI) technology for its cultural and socio- economic development as outlined in frameworks such as the ‘The Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa (2020-2030),’ Science, Technology, and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024), and Agenda 2063,” a text from the AUDA-NEPAD read.
“Furthermore, the African Union Panel on Innovation and Emerging Technologies (APET) has recommended a continental AI strategic framework in an upcoming APET report entitled, “Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for Africa’s Socio-Economic Development,” it added.
Mr Akogo, who led the team working on developing the AI Economy aspect of the strategy told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview, “this involves creating the AI economic goals and targets for the AU, continental frameworks on economic investments and growth, the value proposition for Africa adopting AI,
Other areas are financial investments and venture capital for AI, the role of AfCFTA in Al, commercialisation of Al in Africa, involving the creation of an AI fund, revisions of regulations and the creation of new regulations and policies to create a conducive environment for African AI companies to thrive and grow.”
He described the AU-AI initiative as crucially important as the world rapidly shifts towards AI, Africa cannot miss out, as it did in the past, but be strategic in harnessing the power of AI and the 4th Industrial Revolution with all purposefulness to spur the needed technological development.
“There is already a lot of AI initiatives and there are some leading companies like MinoHealth AI Labs and KaraAgro AI, in Africa. Currently, there are a number of African countries working on AI strategies and policies,” adding, “the AU having a collective strategy for the call continent gives us all more leverage.”
The CEO said Artificial intelligence had the potential to solve many of the grand challenges we had in Africa and the world, as seen in the healthcare sector with their AI for medical diagnosis projects under minoHealth AI Labs, and their AI for early crop disease and pest detection projects under KaraAgro AI.
“AI has a great potential for private sector development. AI is estimated to be a 1.5 trillion-dollar market by 2030. We could transform sectors on the continent by fully tapping into it,” the AI expert said.
He urged Member states to start identifying the AI initiatives within their countries and start dedicating effort towards ensuring various stakeholders understand AI and its benefits. And more importantly, member states should start adopting AI solutions developed on the continent.
“Through this AU initiative, members states can benefit from knowledge sharing. The various countries that are far ahead with their AI strategies can share what they have learnt with other member states.”
The initiative had an overall objective to develop a continental AU-AI continental strategy – to be recommended for adaptation by Member States at the Heads of States summit (political leverage) and bring together regional economic communities (RECs) and senior policymakers on the continent to address identified AI challenges and to ascertain public trust on AI systems, utilising AUDA-NEPAD convening power.
The expected outcomes of the initiative comprised a comprehensive AU-AI Continental strategy developed to provide a framework to guide AU Member States in strengthening the regulatory environment for the effective harnessing of AI.
Again, address myths and misconceptions about AI technology addressed through policy briefs, working papers and other knowledge products while AI implementation challenges at policy level addressed through capacity strengthening activities of the Calestous Juma Executive Dialogue on Innovation and Emerging Technologies (CJED).