Kenya ranked fifth in Africa on ability to tap AI in rendering public service

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Kenya has been placed at position five in Africa on the basis of its ability to tap Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the delivery of services to the public. The 2022 edition of the annual Government AI Readiness Index released by Oxford Insights shows that Kenya scored 40.36 percent, coming behind Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia and Morocco. Globally, Kenya was ranked position 90.
In terms of the availability of necessary skills to foster AI adoption, Kenya scored 28.76 percent, a low performance taking into the world average is 35.17 percent.
The use of AI has been steadily growing across the world, with the technology being tapped to enhance
disease control and weather forecasting as well as education outcomes through personalised learning.
“AI might be the medicine the continent needs to root out problems and inconsistencies in education,” said Ambassador to Belgium Bitange Ndemo.“Indeed, the fact that African languages were suppressed in favour of European languages as a strategy to separate thought and speech, Africa now has the opportunity to begin the process of decolonizing education.” Over the last decade, Kenya’s total value of investment in AI is estimated at Sh13 billion which hardly compares with South Africa’s Sh165.8 billion and Nigeria’s 60.3 billion, according to Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence in the Middle East and Africa Outlook report. According to ICT experts, data and tech skills, more than all other factors, are key to the development of AI in the country and take-off will only be effected if the two are sorted out.
“Data is the engine of AI since AI creates algorithms for predictions mainly based on historical data. If that’s missing, the power and impact of AI will be suboptimal, or worse still, have a negative impact,” notes John Walubengo, an ICT lecturer at Multimedia University of Kenya.
Mr Walubengo sat as a member of the Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence Task Force that was constituted in February 2018 to provide the government with recommendations on how to harness emerging technologies over the consequent five years.


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