Kenya Unveils National Emerging Technologies and AI Strategy Framework

By Linda Gichohi 

In today’s digital era where artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing economies and transforming societies globally, Kenya is taking bold steps to position itself at the forefront of this technological wave.

The Ministry of ICT and Digital Economy, in partnership with GIZ, is spearheading the development of a comprehensive National AI Strategy.

This initiative aims to guide Kenya in the development, application, and governance of AI, ensuring the country harnesses the full potential of this emerging technology while safeguarding ethical considerations and national interests.

From May 15th to 17th, 2024, a stakeholders’ workshop was held in Naivasha on the development of Kenya’s National AI and emerging technologies strategy.

This workshop, the third in a series, brought together a diverse group of participants from government entities, the private sector, industry experts, academic and research institutions, and civil society organizations.

The discussions focused on crafting a strategy that aligns with Kenya’s unique needs and aspirations.

Components of the National AI Strategy Discussed During the Workshop

The strategy outlines a clear vision: position Kenya as a global AI leader, attract investment, and foster a thriving environment for ethical AI development.

Discussions emphasized the importance of targeting key demographics and sectors, with objectives that align with national security interests and global policy frameworks such as UNESCO, the AU’s NEPAD Initiative, and the  African ICT minister’s Nairobi Declaration on Emerging Technologies among others.

Workshop participants agreed that AI should be identified as an emerging technology characterized by novelty, rapid growth, disruption, and potential impact. The relationship between emerging technologies and AI exploration was elaborated, focusing on supporting research and development to facilitate AI advancements.

Creating an enabling environment through policies, laws, governance, and international agreements was a major discussion point and the foundational building blocks.

Points of reference were made to various key research documents and frameworks emphasizing an African perspective on AI including the KICTANet AI Policy Brief.

The importance of human rights and cultural nuances was highlighted to ensure AI technologies are inclusive and representative of Kenya’s diverse population.

Addressing challenges within organizational structures and processes, the strategy underscores the importance of AI awareness and integration.

Specialized uses of technology, particularly in military intelligence and national security, were discussed, emphasising ethical considerations, data privacy and the need for a balanced approach to AI deployment.

Detailed planning for the execution of the AI strategy includes timelines, responsibilities, and milestones.

In addition, financial planning, monitoring, evaluation, and sustainability measures were outlined to ensure continuous improvement and alignment with national goals.

Participants discussed the necessity of milestones such as the development and validation of the strategy, pilot use cases, and multi-stakeholder engagement.

The overarching vision of the strategy is to position Kenya as a leader in AI innovation, attract investment, and create an environment that fosters creativity and ethical AI development. The strategy aims to leverage local datasets and talent, ensuring the AI landscape is both localized and globally competitive.

Comprehensive definitions of AI relevant to Kenya, including data science, machine learning, and autonomous systems, were provided.

Working groups were established to allow for in-depth discussions on specific aspects of the AI strategy. This inclusive approach ensures a comprehensive and well-rounded strategy that reflects the expertise and insights of diverse stakeholders.

Success Factors

The strategy identifies key success factors, such as government support, continuous research, collaboration, and a conducive operating environment.  

Other areas of focus include legislation, budget allocation, workforce development, and the creation of an independent AI governing body.

Moving Forward

As the Ministry refines the strategy, stakeholder input remains crucial. Collaborative efforts will ensure the strategy is robust and drive Kenya towards a future where AI contributes to economic growth, improved public services, and a better quality of life for all.

Validation exercises, pilot projects, and a comprehensive rollout plan will pave the way for achieving both short-term and long-term national goals.

With continued commitment and collaboration, Kenya is well-positioned to become a regional leader in AI and emerging technologies, fostering innovation, development, and a prosperous digital economy.



David Indeje information

Related Posts

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.