Africa | Technology

PPDC spearheads Africa’s AI development at DRIF24 forum

The Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), has affirmed its dedication to contributing to Africa's artificial intelligence (AI) resurgence, aligning with the continent's pursuit of a more sustainable and strategic approach to digital governance.

At the 11th Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF24) in Accra, PPDC's fireside conversation provided a platform for esteemed speakers from Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Kenya to explore how AI can stimulate local economic growth and elevate Africa's global influence.

Addressing sectors such as agriculture, job creation, and medicine, the panelists presented a range of perspectives on how AI could beneficially reshape the continent. Despite concerns about AI potentially displacing human labour, the consensus among the speakers was that it offers an opportunity for humans to engage in advanced thinking, reasoning, and professional endeavours.

Two panelists, Sani Ibrahim from Paradigm Initiative and Joshua Opoku Agyemang, President of IOT Network Hub – Africa in Ghana, made noteworthy contributions that could greatly contribute to the advancement of AI in Africa.

Sani expressed concerns about the absence of a comprehensive policy framework hindering the development and adoption of artificial intelligence across the continent. He emphasised the need for specific legislation to regulate the usage of AI effectively.

Sani emphasises that AI has the potential to be integrated into various sectors such as agriculture, finance, or media. However, he highlighted the necessity for increased investment in the fourth industrial revolution domain to fully realize these opportunities.

“AI can be implemented in all sectors – agriculture, finance or media. But more investment is needed in the 4th industrial revolution space,” Sani said.

Joshua, on the other hand, holds the belief that inadequate public digital infrastructure could impede the advancement of artificial intelligence in Africa. He also notes that data presents a significant barrier to AI development due to its variability and the need for specificity to ensure accuracy, particularly across different regions of the continent.

Joshua further asserts that there is ample opportunity for everyone within the realm of artificial intelligence, whether they are involved in building, utilizing, or somewhere in between. He emphasises the importance of raising awareness about the significance of artificial intelligence to foster greater participation and understanding.

“There is an opportunity for everyone in artificial intelligence. Either you are building, consuming, or in between. Awareness needs to be created on the importance of artificial intelligence,” Joshua said.

Program Officer for Digital Governance at PPDC, Dodeye Ebri, remarks that with Africa's rising prominence in the global tech scene, PPDC stands ready to make substantial contributions to the continent's AI revival.

“Our Fireside Conversation provided a platform for esteemed speakers from Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya to share insights on how AI can drive local economic development while positioning Africa for global impact."

Dodeye highlights that the central theme of DRIF24, "Fostering Rights and Inclusion in the Digital Age," resonates strongly with PPDC's mission to empower Nigerians with equitable access to digital opportunities and to educate them about their rights and responsibilities in the digital era.

The Fireside Conversation drew a varied audience encompassing policymakers, government officials, tech entrepreneurs, civil society representatives, activists, academics, researchers, media professionals, international tech firms, and organizations.

The session was crafted to foster a relaxed and interactive atmosphere, enabling speakers to exchange anecdotes, address challenges, and recount success stories, thereby establishing a genuine rapport with the audience.

During the session, PPDC spotlighted its Digital Governance initiative, aimed at empowering under-served communities, youth, businesses, and policymakers in Nigeria.

The programme's goals include incorporating online safety education into Nigeria's National Digital Literacy Framework (NDLF), empowering learners with crucial digital skills, and broadening the Digital Inclusion and Safer Internet (DISI) program's scope to include marginalized populations and under-served communities without digital access.

Additionally, the initiative will advocate for comprehensive digital rights legislation, increasing public understanding of fundamental digital rights, and shaping policy formulation and implementation through evidence-based research, advocacy, and collaborative engagement with policymakers and stakeholders.

It will also focus on empowering businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs with the expertise and capabilities to thrive in the digital economy. This includes offering tailored support to aid their expansion and scalability, as well as advocating for the establishment of robust government policies that promote innovation and foster a conducive environment for sustainable business growth within the digital realm.

PPDC is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing transparency, accountability, and good governance through technology-driven solutions and advocacy efforts. With a primary focus on harnessing technology to enhance public governance monitoring, PPDC strives to narrow the divide between government and citizens, fostering mutual benefit and participation across Nigeria and the broader African continent.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.