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Is Africa AI Ready?

A new report released by Oxford Insights shows that despite the digital divide and data poverty in Africa, 5 countries on the continent have been particularly successful in leveraging technologies to accelerate economic growth with the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). In the “2020 Government AI Readiness Index”, Mauritius took the 45th position globally out of 172 countries across the world, making it the highest-ranked African country on the index. According to Oxford Insights, Mauritius has always been forward-looking in terms of AI and is the only country on the continent to have published an AI strategy. The methodology used by the Oxford Insights index considers governments’ willingness to adopt AI and if the country has a good supply of AI expertise and tools from the technology sector. In addition, these tools need to be built and trained on high-quality and representative data with the appropriate infrastructure to be delivered to and used by citizens. Mauritius is also ranked 13 out of 34 countries on this year’s “Responsible Use Sub-Index”. That index, also by Oxford Insights, tracks the ethical use of AI in countries across the globe. The debate around responsible AI was put into focus this year due to the COVID: the issues include privacy as well as ongoing global inequality. The index was measured using inclusivity, accountability, transparency, and privacy as some of its main indicators. In addition to Mauritius, South Africa was 59th globally on the Government AI Readiness Index, Seychelles 68th, Kenya 71st, and Rwanda 87th.

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Alastair Tempest

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