Africa is rife with opportunities for artificial intelligence. In Nigeria and Kenya, a generation of fintech startups own proprietary models that offer users customized instant loans. South Africa’s Aerobotics combines satellite imagery with computer vision for more efficient tree-crop production. Agrix Tech is doing something similar in Cameroon, helping farmers diagnose ailing tomato fruits in 10 seconds.
Big Tech is taking note of this wave. When Google opened an AI lab in Ghana in 2019, it was a testament to the idea that Africa is the next frontier for emerging technologies. That same year, Microsoft followed suit with its own center.
Most experts are convinced that African companies and governments should look to AI to accelerate the continent’s development goals, and to enhance its competitive advantage. Governments should use natural language processing—the branch of AI concerned with linguistics—to drive education in indigenous languages. Engineers like Charlette N’Guessan should be encouraged to build facial recognition technology that properly recognizes Black faces.