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AI: The Next Frontier for Critical Sectors in Africa

Digital and technological experts have underscored the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Generative AI in empowering individuals and organizations across Africa, driving progress in healthcare, education, financial inclusion, and agriculture.

During a media workshop organized by Microsoft for journalists from Africa, Ayanda Ngcebetsha, Director of Data, Analytics, and AI, underscored AI’s transformative role in critical sectors for the continent’s population.

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The forum revealed that Generative AI, though in its early stages, is rapidly maturing, sparking considerable interest and investment with AI startups garnering over 20 billion dollars in funding over the last three years.

Vice President and Global Head of AWS Startups, Howard Wright, stated that AWS supports startups in creating, building, and growing on the leading cloud platform. AWS, having worked with 280,000 startups globally, has disbursed over 6 billion dollars in the past decade, primarily aiding those deploying AI and machine learning.

AWS opened the first development center in Kenya last year to facilitate innovators’ access to cloud-based resources. Concurrently, the launch of ChatGPT last year heightened awareness of Generative AI’s power.

Trusha Vanmali, Business Program Manager at Microsoft, highlighted Generative AI’s ability to create data-driven, customized content with the potential to address societal challenges in Africa.

Additionally, Vanmali stated that AI can aid in educational policy, curricula, and content creation by analyzing massive amounts of data. In schools lacking resources, AI can help teachers produce stimulating visual aids and easy-to-understand explanations, enhancing critical thinking skills.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released guidelines for AI in health, emphasizing safety, effectiveness, and stakeholder engagement. Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said the regulations are meant to actively support countries in regulating AI effectively so as to optimize benefits and minimize risks in medical applications.

Gene Gituku
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