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Made in Africa: An African Perspective to the Design, Deployment and Governance of AI

Part 1: The Four Horsemen of AI in Africa

Published: 14 February 2024
Authors: Tevin Mwenda, Joshua Baru, Babra Chege, Kavengi Kitonga, David Lemayian, William Powers, Wanjiru Mburu (PhD), Njeri Ngaruiya (PhD), and Shikoh Gitau (PhD)


This paper proposes a model for African AI governance centered on developing four key components: Data Sets and Data Systems, Digital Infrastructure, Talent, and AI Markets. This framework is presented as an alternative to premature regulation, which we feel wouldn't be effective given the nascent stage of Africa’s AI ecosystem.

The argument:

  • Current global AI regulation focuses on developed nations with mature ecosystems.
  • Africa is on the right track but lacks a strong AI ecosystem due to limited data, infrastructure, talent, and market awareness.
  • Premature regulation would hinder growth instead of fostering innovation that is critical for growth.
  • The "Four Horsemen" model for growing Africa’s AI operational ecosystem proposes: Building infrastructure for collecting, annotating, and storing African data ethically and efficiently; Investing in data centers, connectivity, and chip manufacturing to support AI development; Upskilling and creating jobs in AI fields while ensuring ethical labor practices and Raising awareness, developing relevant AI solutions, and fostering commercially

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