The Study is a first attempt by UNESCO and its partners to contextualise global efforts to understand the emerging and anticipated impact of AI. It also aims to identify concrete examples of AI use in the region, in various fields – with a particular focus on education, health, labour and environment – and to offer a unique analysis of these cases from the perspective of the universal ethical principles enshrined in the UNESCO Recommendation on the Ethics of AI. Through this pioneer Study, UNESCO intends to document and show that AI technologies are already being used by people and institutions in many countries of the Southern African region, emphasising the need for evidence-driven regulation and safeguarding mechanisms.
This Study was commissioned by the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa and undertaken by the AI4Development (AI4D) African Observatory on Responsible AI, a project of Research ICT Africa and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). The work forms part of UNESCO’s implementation process for the 2021 Recommendation. The drafting of this report was led by Kristophina Shilongo, Mark Gaffley, Paul Plantinga and Rachel Adams with inputs from Nokuthula Olorunju, Oarabile Mudongo and Zara Schroeder.