Artificial intelligence in Africa

Image by Inmortal Producciones.

Artificial intelligence (AI) was named over 60 years ago by a scientist called John McCarthy from Dartmouth College. It is now part of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) and advances have been made in technology with the development of more efficient computing power and more sophisticated technology. The technology is now advancing to an incredible degree and the industry is ripe for investment.

AI has been integrated into many online systems and spreads all across the world including Africa. There are many questions about where Africa finds itself in this new technology industry. Africa is embracing technology that benefits the community such as healthcare and agriculture. Many have wondered if AI will take potentially precise jobs taken in Africa but the technology is said to be used to make the processes more efficient and are not one of the jobs under threat by the introduction of AI.

Agriculture in Africa

The agriculture industry is the largest in Africa, the results of which means that the adoption of innovative technology has been quick and efficient in order to modernise the sector and improve the profitability of the large farming community.

AI is used in agriculture to track coffee throughout all the stages of the supply chain and this traceability allows the coffee farms to obtain the fairtrade and organic certification for all their products. These certifications help farms to compete on the market for being credible in their ethos and ethics. This can also be applied to other export farming products such as chocolate, fruit, sesame, sugar and beans.

AI technology has also helped to aid the prevention of crop losses and failures, helping farmers to optimise their yield and identify any problem areas. This technology is known as Aerobotics and sugar farmers in South Africa have been able to use the technology to prevent upto 20% of crop failures using the analytics that can map regions and identify stressed plants that require more attention.

There is now growing opportunities in AI to help information being recorded, stored and utilised to help guide farmers with investing time and resources effectively from anything like livestock to the latest market prices.


AI has also really benefited healthcare by providing the necessary help that healthcare providers need to improve their performance systems. SOPHiA is an artificial intelligence system for clinical genomics that helps improve workflow of staff and patient care.

Drones are also being used to deliver medical supplies and blood to patients in remote areas, company Zipline has been working with Rwanda’s National Centre for Blood Transfusion to make between 50 to 150 deliveries of blood to 21 transfusing facilities in the western part of Africa.

The Future of AI in Africa

The future of AI in Africa looks to be bright as improvements keep being made towards a better future for Africa’s inhabitants. Businesses will be able to use this technology to innovate their systems and processes and become more efficient at providing sustainable opportunities in future.


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