Call for Contributions: Help Inform the African Union AI Continental Strategy for Africa

Chinasa T. Okolo
3 min readMar 22, 2024

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Members of AUDA-NEPAD and the African Union High Level Panel on Emerging Technologies (APET) at the African Union Commission (headquarters) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in August 2023. Chinasa (the author) is standing in the center (holding a white purse).
Members of AUDA-NEPAD and the African Union High Level Panel on Emerging Technologies (APET) at the African Union Commission (headquarters) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in August 2023. Chinasa (the author) is standing in the center (holding a white purse).

Over the past two years, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to contribute in drafting the African Union Artificial Intelligence Continental Strategy for Africa. I began my journey with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) in June 2022 and since then, I have engaged in virtual workshops and in-person writing workshops in Kigali, Rwanda and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to make progress towards drafting the AU-AI Continental AI Strategy. Other workshops have been held in Dakar, Senegal in May 2022 and in Nairobi, Kenya in September 2022.

Members of AUDA-NEPAD and the African Union High Level Panel on Emerging Technologies (APET) at the AU-AI Continental Strategy finalization workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in August 2023. Chinasa (the author) is sitting on the right hand side in the front row.
Members of AUDA-NEPAD and the African Union High Level Panel on Emerging Technologies (APET) at the AU-AI Continental Strategy finalization workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in August 2023. Chinasa (the author) is sitting on the right hand side in the front row.

The goal of the African Union AI Continental Strategy for Africa is to develop a comprehensive strategy that will guide African countries on how to support inclusive and sustainable AI-enabled socioeconomic transformation. An AI-driven socioeconomic approach has the potential to promote economic growth and development by creating new industries and jobs, increasing productivity, and improving efficiency, which ultimately leads to elevated prosperity and better living standards for all Africans. The strategy is split into six pillars, addressing the following topics:

  • Pillar 1: Human Capital Development for AI: This pillar examines existing continental frameworks on human capital development, assesses the current AI skills gap within the African continent and examines the potential of AI to change the future of work in Africa. I contributed specifically to this pillar.
  • Pillar 2: Infrastructure And Data: Foundations And Use In AI Systems: This pillar highlights data challenges in the African market, reviewing existing data frameworks such as the Malabo convention, and the need to establish consistent frameworks and data policy to reduce biases, increase benefits from existing innovation, and stimulate the adoption of AI in Africa.
  • Pillar 3: Enabling Environments For AI Development And Deployment: This pillar examines how African governments can create enabling environments for AI research and development through improving digital infrastructure, increasing access to quality data and AI technologies, developing effective AI regulations, and strengthening the AI labor market.
  • Pillar 4: AI Economy: This pillar examines the impact of AI technology on economic activities within Africa such as venture capital funding, private equity investments, mobile money transactions, and digital banking.
  • Pillar 5: Building Sustainable Partnerships: This pillar examines how African governments and external stakeholders can foster partnerships to leverage AI to advance socioeconomic development in line with the goals of the AU Agenda 2063.
  • Pillar 6: Fostering Capacity For Monitoring And Evaluation Of AI Strategies in African Countries: This pillar examines how AU Member States should incorporate monitoring and evaluation of AI strategies to ensure adherence to timelines, indicators, implementation plans, target and performance indicators, risk factors, and success factors.
A writing packet for the AU-AI Continental Strategy finalization workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The image is of AUDA-NEPAD and the African Union High Level Panel on Emerging Technologies (APET) members at a writing workshop in Kigali, Rwanda in February 2023. Chinasa (the author) is sitting on the left hand side in the front row.
A writing packet for the AU-AI Continental Strategy finalization workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The image is of AUDA-NEPAD/African Union High Level Panel on Emerging Technologies (APET) members at a writing workshop in Kigali, Rwanda in February 2023. Chinasa (the author) is sitting on the left hand side in the front row.

On February 29th, AUDA-NEPAD hosted a public event releasing the AI Continental White Paper and AI Roadmap for Africa, a strategic blueprint leading to the development of the AU-AI Continental Strategy. AUDA-NEPAD welcomes stakeholders from across Africa and globally to help inform further development of the AU-AI Continental Strategy.

Your feedback is crucial to ensure the AU-AI Continental Strategy reflects the current state of AI on the continent and anticipates future developments and needs. All feedback should be submitted by May 31st, 2024. We appreciate your help in shaping the future of responsible AI innovation and governance in Africa!

AU-AI Continental White Paper & Roadmap webinar recording (Passcode: 6s@zVqjL)

Continental AI White Paper, AI Roadmap for Africa, and webinar slides on OneDrive

Submit feedback on the white paper and roadmap

Register as a volunteer expert to contribute further

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Chinasa T. Okolo

AI + Policy Researcher • Computer Science PhD, Cornell • Technorealist, Scholar, and World Traveler • www.chinasatokolo.com