A new report by ALT Advisory analyses the state of Artificial Intelligence (AI) governance in Africa by mapping the instruments that exist both at the continental level and domestically. Noting that the use of AI by both the public and private sector has grown exponentially in recent years and continues to do so, the report highlights that unanticipated or problematic consequences are also now beginning to be seen. In response, states have grown increasingly interested in the governance of AI: there are over 700 AI policy initiatives that have been implemented by 60 countries around the world since 2017. African countries appear to be falling behind the trend, scoring poorly on global indices of AI readiness as compared to other regions.
Positively, AI appears to increasingly be on the policy agenda at the continental level, with various working groups, resolutions, and reports addressing the human rights implications of AI and how to leverage AI and related technologies for development.
At the domestic level, the report finds that no African country has dedicated AI legislation in place, although Mauritius has partial legislation that specifically deals with licensing procedures for entities that provide investment and portfolio management services enabled by AI. Further findings include:
- 30 countries have data protection legislation that addresses automated decision-making in some way.
- 4 countries have a national AI strategy.
- 1 country (Tunisia) has a draft policy or a white/green paper on AI.
- 13 countries have established an expert commission or taskforce on AI.
- 6 countries include AI as a priority in their National Development Plan, while 4 other countries’ plans make partial mention of AI.
It is hoped that the report will spur further discussion and action on the appropriate regulation of AI in Africa to better protect the rights and freedoms of all people as this new technology become increasingly prevalent.
The report can be accessed here.
ALT Advisory’s newly launched portal containing further research on AI in Africa can be found here.
Please note: The information contained in this note is for general guidance on matters of interest and does not constitute legal advice. For any enquiries, please contact us at [email protected].