Analysis in brief: Africa has the potential to be an active agent in the development of emerging technologies around artificial intelligence (AI) and not simply a place where these technologies are implemented. But in order to do so, it is necessary to think critically about where research attention in Africa should be focused, as well as how to guide the various aspects of research in a way that is sensitive to capabilities and interests specific to African peoples.
Research and development into emerging technologies around artificial intelligence (AI) is thriving the world over. African countries too are developing the capacity to contribute to this growing field. Indeed, Africa has the potential to take joint ownership of AI and not just be a playground where these technologies from elsewhere are implemented. For instance, the first major international machine learning conference in Africa – the International Conference of Learning Representations (ICLR) – will be held in Ethiopia in 2020, representing the first major opportunity for African researchers to attend a large conference on home soil and dramatically increase interaction between African and international researchers. But in order to take ownership and maximise a role for Africa, we need to think critically about how to guide the various aspects of research in a way that is sensitive to African capabilities and interests.
Challenges, Opportunities, Risks and Next Steps
The South African government has prioritised small business development with the objective of creating 11 million jobs by 2030 to reduce the country’s chronic and high unemployment rate, and looking to SMEs to create these jobs and stimulate economic growth. This objective can only be achieved through the establishment of a supportive and enabling environment for the growth of small businesses.
SME SA in collaboration with In On Africa (IOA) has endeavored to assess the current environment in which SMEs operate through executing nationwide research on the sector. The aim of the research was to shed light on the challenges, opportunities and risks that need to be considered in the development of the SME sector to ensure the much needed growth and new employment opportunities in the country.
The Africa Country Benchmark Report (ACBR) is the definitive resource for understanding Africa, providing comprehensive assessments of all 54 African countries. The report scores, ranks and insightfully assesses each country holistically, as well as across business, economic, political and social factors, all presented in an 750-page infographic-driven publication.
View the ACBR intro video below or click here for more information on the ACBR.