Misa breaks new ground on AI

Titled, AI Report on southern Africa, the report provides key insights into the current uptake and utilisation of AI in the region.

IN a ground-breaking move highlighting  the readiness to adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI) in southern Africa, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) has launched an AI report.

This report, unveiled at a forum in Harare, sets the stage for responsible AI adoption across the region.

Titled, AI Report on southern Africa, the report provides key insights into the current uptake and utilisation of AI in the region.

“As Misa, we realised that the bulk of the conversations emerge from the global north, and there is limited scope in terms of exploration and analysis of the way forward pertaining to the use of AI in the global south” said Misa regional director Tabani Moyo.

Most technologies in Africa are currently replicating techniques from the global north and according to Moyo, what Misa has done with the AI report is to break fallow ground.

Moyo sits on the international committee that developed a charter aimed at regulating the use of AI in media.

The committee was set up by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in collaboration with its partners

“Our approach is that there is need for contextual analysis; understanding how the technology can be relevant to the needs of the global south,” Moyo said.

“We have managed to analyse trends and located key conversation points which then will inform various policy makers, the academic institutions and media to engage in a more informed manner on this phenomenon.”

For Zimbabwe this is a rare opportunity that availed itself, Moyo said.

“I am glad about the appetite that was shown by the minister of ICTs at the launch of the report that she is willing to engage with stakeholders to shape the formulation of the AI policy in Zimbabwe.”

In her keynote address at the forum ICT minister  Tatenda Mavetera said: “The national vision and mission with respect to ICTs is to achieve a knowledge-based society with ubiquitous connectivity by 2030 and exploit the potential of ICTs for sustainable socio-economic development in Zimbabwe.

“As we move towards this vision, it is important to establish a regulatory framework that facilitates access to information and communication technologies while promoting trust and confidence in their use” Mavetere said.

 Surrender Kapoikulu, chairperson of the ICT, postal and courier services parliamentary portfolio committee said: “Our country does not have the regulatory framework for AI technologies.

“We, therefore, have to develop the regulatory framework and policies to govern AI developers and their new emerging technologies,” Kapiokulu added.

The forum, which brought together key stakeholders from government, academia, parliament, regulators, telecoms, media, and civil society organisations, provided a platform for discussing the report's findings and recommendations.

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