Artificial Intelligence Opportunities in Africa

Creating Conditions for Success

White Paper Details

Pages: 10
Tables, Charts, Figures: 5
Release Date: 4Q 2018


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Artificial intelligence (AI) is not just a transformational technology for the enterprise, but it is proving to be a critical area of investment and focus for countries and governments across the world. Just like previous waves of technology innovation, whether it was the steam engine, electricity, computers, the Internet, or mobile, we are at the cusp of a new wave that will revolutionize how we live, work, and play. AI is on the geopolitical agenda today with North America, Europe, and Asia getting a head start in what is being termed the “AI arms race,” as the bulk of AI research, skillsets, and startup investment is concentrated across these regions. In addition, some of the key countries driving AI growth also have national AI strategies, including China, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Japan, and South Korea, among others. As the rest of the world races ahead in its AI development plans, there is a risk that Africa will be left behind.

Africa, rather than being a monolithic region or continent with one identity, is a mix of multiple countries, regions, cultures, and economies. The diverse nature of Africa makes implementing AI slightly more difficult, as there are likely to be different motivations and capabilities within the African region that will guide AI strategies. However, AI is also not a monolithic technology with singular outcomes. AI is an umbrella of multiple technologies that is seeing adoption across hundreds of use cases across almost every industry. As a result, Africa can take advantage of the diverse nature of AI to target specific industries and use cases.  Africa has its economic engines firing again with traditional economies diversifying away from commodities and seeing the growth of business services. At the same time, Africa is seeing technology transformation both digitally across the enterprise and a robust mobile ecosystem that is seeing increasing contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the region. Africa is changing for the better, and despite its challenges socially, politically, and economically, there is potential for AI to transform the lives of ordinary people.

This Tractica white paper focuses on the diverse range of industries and use cases that can benefit from AI in Africa and provides a blueprint for creating the right conditions for AI to succeed. The paper argues that Africa needs a nuanced approach to AI and does not necessarily have to follow the AI strategies of North America, Europe, or Asia. Africa is unique and diverse and, therefore, requires its own unique perspective and approach to ensure success in AI. The white paper is published in partnership with AfricaCom, which is being held November 13-15, 2018 in Cape Town.

Key Questions Addressed:

  • What are the key trends driving the evolution of AI in Africa?
  • What are the regional economic factors that could create opportunities for AI in Africa?
  • What effect will AI have on traditional industries in Africa?
  • What influence will mobile-driven industries have on the development of AI in Africa?
  • What are the key success factors for AI in Africa?

Who Needs This Report?

  • Artificial intelligence companies
  • Semiconductor and component companies
  • Software developers
  • Systems integration and consulting firms
  • Industry organizations
  • Government agencies
  • Investor community

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Africa Rising Again
  3. AI Opportunities in Africa
    1. Traditional Industries
    2. Mobile-Driven Industries
  4. Success Factors for AI in Africa
  5. Additional Reading
  6. About AfricaCom

List of Charts and Figures

  • Six of the Ten Fastest Growing Economies in Africa
  • Telecom AI Software Revenue by Use Case, Africa: 2018-2025
  • Digital Growth in Africa
  • Digital Growth in Africa
  • AI Success Factors in Africa