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Funders back AI-to-policy research centres in Africa

Image: geralt, via Pixabay

Support for adoption of ‘responsible AI’ on the continent is the goal

A project backed by Canadian and Swedish funders will set up two regional centres in Africa to “inform and influence” artificial intelligence research and policies on the continent.

The four-year AI for Development Africa programme will fund two centres with up to CA$1.5 million (US$1.13m) each over three years, one based in a Francophone country, and one in an Anglophone country in East or Southern Africa.

The AI4D Africa programme was launched in 2020 and is a collaboration between Canada’s International Development Research Centre and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

The funding is aimed at African organisations with a track record of AI research focused on national or regional needs, and translating research into policy. Thematic focus areas include economics, diversity and gender equality, AI safety, fairness and ethics, as well as accountability.

“The goal of this initiative is to enable African think tanks to inform and shape policies and strategies on AI to support the adoption of responsible AI on the continent, and to ensure African experts have a voice in global fora,” said the funders in a statement.

A question session will be held on 13 October, with a deadline for proposals set for 4 November. Successful proposals will be announced in November.