AI to play key role in Kenya’s growth, development and democratisation

Attendees at the AI for Good’ event series.

In a move that further cements the organisations commitment to making AI accessible to every individual and organisation, Microsoft, alongside Strathmore University and Access Partnership, launched its ‘AI for Good’ event series. The event, which took place at the Microsoft Policy Innovation Centre, at Strathmore University Law School, aimed to explore how the country can make optimum use of AI, in a manner that will positively impact economic and social growth, development, and inclusion.

AI has the potential to enhance productivity and growth by expanding opportunities in key sectors for Kenya and the wider continent – these, according to the whitepaper, include agriculture, healthcare, financial services, and government services.

“Through providing workers, entrepreneurs, and organisations with access to high-quality digital tools, they will be empowered to compete at a global level and be at the forefront of economic transformation,” says Winnie Karanu, Business Development and Program Manager at Microsoft.

“Success of implementation will depend on the ability of governments to foster collaboration among all stakeholders — state and civil society, academia, industry, and national and international stakeholders. If all parties embrace the challenges of AI, Kenya will reap the benefits of a vibrant AI ecosystem.” continues Karanu.

On his part, Ahmed El Essawi, Government Affairs Manager, Microsoft Middle East and Africa – who is managing the series of events at the Microsoft Policy Innovation Centres across the region highlighted the importance of the partnership saying, “We are thrilled to be working with Strathmore and Access Partnership in creating awareness around the new frontier that AI will bring to Kenya”.

“Showcasing Microsoft’s role as an ally for stakeholders within the Kenyan corporate sphere and ensuring its citizens can benefit from the full potential that AI technologies bring with it will only mean that ultimately, some of the region’s most pervasive problems will be addressed head on”, added El Essawi.

Further speaking of the event and its partnership with Microsoft, Dr Isaac Rutenberg, Director for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law at Strathmore University expressed that the institution is excited to provide a platform and environment for these discussions to take place.

“Strathmore has always aimed to be at the forefront of issues that impact the country at large. Digital Transformation and AI are topics that need to be unpacked in a favourable space, bringing stakeholders, government officials and policy makers together for knowledge sharing.”, he says.

AI presents a crucial and important opportunity for the continent. If governments can successfully steer the challenges presented, AI can be a driver of growth, development, and democratisation – this is according to a whitepaper published by Access Partnership, commissioned by Microsoft, entitled ‘Artificial Intelligence for Africa: An Opportunity for Growth, Development, and Democratisation’.

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