KICTANet Thought Leadership Series
Policy Discussion on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Kenya
Date: 16 November 2023, 0800 – 1400 hours
Venue: RSVP invite only event.
Background and Context
Artificial intelligence can be described as the technologies that enable machines to act with higher levels of intelligence and emulate human capabilities to sense, comprehend, and act, which are augmented by the ability to learn from experience and adapt over time. In the past decade, there has been an unprecedented technological innovation on AI driven by increased access to digitised data, unlimited access to computing power, low cost of cloud data storage, and access to internet connectivity. AI is expected to revolutionise human existence by boosting productivity, driving innovation, facilitating intelligent workforce automation and augmenting both labour and physical capital.
The use and development of artificial intelligence (AI) has been ongoing for several years and has recently gained traction with the country’s technology ecosystem. In recent years, there have been innovative AI-powered solutions and applications targeting sectors such as agriculture, education, finance, healthcare, and transport. Also, the development of large language models (LLMs) such as Meta’s Llama 2 presents new applications in various fields. Some of the examples of AI in Kenya include AfyaRekod’s AI-based analysis and reports on health, Utu’s creditworthiness API scoring system for individuals and businesses; FarmDrive’s credit scoring for farmers with access to credit and financial services; Angaza Elimu’s eLearning system providing learners with personalised learning experiences and amplifies teacher student engagement, and Safaricom’s M-Shwari which uses AI to assess creditworthiness of customers. Equally, a number of big-tech companies continue to play a significant role in the development and adoption of AI-based applications and centres in Kenya. Some of these include Microsoft Africa Research Institute, Google Product Development Centre, IBM AI Center of Excellence, and UNESCO and Huawei training programmes on AI.
At a policy level, Kenya’s National ICT Policy recognises trends in big data, machine learning and AI as emerging technologies that the country should pay attention to. The Kenya National Digital Master Plan 2022-2032 calls for the development of a National AI Strategic Plan as a high-level framework for identifying scientific and technological needs in AI, as well as recommendations for establishing and maintaining the National AI Research Resources, including technical capabilities, governance, administration, assessment, and requirements for security, privacy, and civil rights. Kenya’s Digital Economy Blueprint identifies the need for the country to develop a digital skills framework in AI. In addition, in its report, the Taskforce on Distributed Ledgers Technology and Artificial Intelligence noted the importance of a supporting ecosystem and effective regulation for the successful implementation of AI in Kenya.
Currently, the US, UK, China and the European Union among others, are considering AI policies and regulations to address the potential harm, tackle the challenges, and expand opportunities for AI-based systems. Some of the issues in focus include measures to promote accountability and transparency of AI decision-making; prevent AI bias and discrimination; safeguard internet freedom; protect data privacy and security, especially facial recognition systems; regulate the use of autonomous AI-based weapon systems; address the economic impact of AI on the labour market; and govern the development and use of AI systems. Additional measures are being considered to address the risks presented by AI in ensuring safety in healthcare provision, promoting financial inclusion, improving learning, ensuring consumer protection, and strengthening regulatory oversight. Given the foregoing and the ongoing impact of AI on Kenyan society, it is imperative that policy actors in Kenya engage on the potential harm, challenges, and opportunities presented by AI in Kenya.
Objectives of the Roundtable Series
The objective of the roundtable series is to provide a platform for dialogue and engagement on the potential harm, concerns, and opportunities arising from the use and development of artificial intelligence in Kenya. It will also be an opportunity to identify priority policy actions and potential solutions to promote an enabling environment for AI development and use in Kenya.
- Enhanced understanding and engagement on the concerns and opportunities of artificial intelligence in Kenya; and
- Identified priority policy actions, potential solutions, and best practices.
It is expected that the meeting shall result in a policy brief outlining the key policy issues and proposed recommendations to various stakeholders moving forward.
Format of the Event
The event shall be a half-day roundtable meeting with a keynote speech followed by expert presentations, panel discussions, and plenary sessions among the stakeholders present.
The participants will include relevant local actors drawn from government, including relevant agencies and departments, the private sector, the technical community, academia, media, development partners, civil society, and other non-governmental actors.
About the Organizers
The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is a non-profit organisation, which acts as a multi-stakeholder platform for ICT policy and regulation. KICTANet’s guiding philosophy encourages synergies for ICT policy-related activities and initiatives. As such, the network provides mechanisms and a framework for continuing cooperation and collaboration in ICT matters among industry, the technical community, academia, the media, development partners, and the Government.
|0800 – 0830||Arrival and Registration||KICTANet|
|0830 – 0845||Welcome and Introductions||Grace Githaiga, KICTANet
Representative, Meta Platforms Inc
|0845 – 0900||Overview of Workshop Objectives||Ali Hussein, Chairman KICTANet|
|0900 – 0915||Keynote Address||PS Tanui, PS Ministry of ICT & DE|
|Session 1: Presentation on AI Applications
Moderator – Ali Hussein
|0915 – 0945||Overview of Key Issues on AI in Kenya||Experts
George Musumba, Dedan Kimathi University
|0945 – 1015||Presentation on AI Applications||
|1015 – 1030||Plenary Session||Moderator, KICTANet|
|1030 – 1045||Health Break|
|Session 2: Review of Kenya’s AI Priorities|
|1045 – 1200||
|1200 – 1230||Plenary Session||Moderator|
|1230 – 1245||Recommendations, Next Steps & Sustainability||Mwendwa Kivuva, KICTANet|
|1245 – 1300||Closing Session||Ali Hussein, Chairman, KICTANet|
|1300 – 1400||Networking Lunch|
|End of Event|