As a Meta awardee and a researcher with a passion for exploring the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI)and Africa’s development, the AfricAI conference offered me an extraordinary platform for researchers, practitioners, and enthusiasts from across Africa and the greater globe to converge and discuss the ever-evolving landscape of AI inAfrica.
The conference showcased severalAI applications tailored for African contexts. They ranged from agricultural applications to healthcare advancements and financial inclusion initiatives, which highlighted AI’s potential to transform multiple sectors and improve lives. This potential underscores the importance of my research on “Assessing the implications of foreign technology dependence on AI development in Africa.”In light of the many promises that the adoption and use of AI products provide, there is a need to scrutinise many of the continent’s AI adoption and development strategies. Given that much of Africa’s technological advancement has been largely reliant on foreign technology transfer and acquisition, particularly in the area of AI, my paper provides an analysis of the implications of foreign technology dependence on AI development in Africa. The social, economic, and political effects of these transfer and acquisition strategies are shaped by what African governments and societies choose to do and emphasise the need for African governments to take a strategic approach to acquiring and transferring technology.
What was clear from the conference was the ingenuity by Africans, with numerous AI innovations from African researchers and entrepreneurs. These efforts highlighted the continent’s capacity to lead in technological advancements and break free from excessive foreign technology dependence.
In addition to presenting my research, I had the opportunity to attend several other enlightening sessions;“Advancing responsible and open AI in agriculture and food systems in Africa”as well as the “challenges of AI adoption in Africa” stood out. Attending the conference and presenting my paper yielded exciting prospects with other researchers and industry stakeholders expressing keen interest in collaborating on follow-up studies and initiatives aimed at enhancing African technological sovereignty.
The AfricAI conference was a valuable experience, reaffirming my commitment to unlocking Africa’s AI potential and reducing foreign technology dependence. I gained valuable insights from diverse perspectives, discovered opportunities for collaboration, and felt inspired by the local innovations propelling Africa towards a brighter technological future. As I continue my journey, I am eager to contribute to the broader discourse on AI in Africa.