G7 and UNDP Forge Alliance to Advance AI for Sustainable Development in Africa

Written by Jeremy Werner

Jeremy is an experienced journalists, skilled communicator, and constant learner with a passion for storytelling and a track record of crafting compelling narratives. He has a diverse background in broadcast journalism, AI, public relations, data science, and social media management.
Posted on 04/19/2024
In News

In a concerted effort to harness the potential of AI for sustainable development in Africa, the G7 Italian Presidency, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), recently concluded a series of high-level meetings with key stakeholders on April 15. The gatherings, held in Addis Ababa over two days, aimed to bolster collaboration on AI and address challenges related to equitable access to this transformative technology. The meetings, which involved African Union (AU) senior officials, African Ambassadors to the AU, the European Union Special Representative to the African Union, and representatives from the private sector, resulted in a reaffirmed commitment to strengthening cooperation on AI for sustainable development.


This initiative builds on the momentum generated by the G7 ministers’ consensus reached in Verona, Italy, on March 14. During the Verona meeting, led by Italy, participants recognized the critical need for collaborative efforts between G7 nations and developing countries to advance AI initiatives. Partnering with UNDP, the G7 Italian Presidency initiated this multi-stakeholder engagement to enhance local AI ecosystems, promote democratization of computing power, and foster responsible AI development.


Central to the discussions was the role of AI in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through a series of consultations characterized by diverse perspectives and expert insights, participants explored innovative strategies to leverage AI for sustainable development in Africa. Key meetings included dialogues with H.E. Ambassador Fathallah Sijilmassi, Director General of the African Union Commission (AUC), and discussions at the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa (RSCA), where stakeholders emphasized the importance of empowering AU Member States with tools and frameworks for responsible AI deployment.


Among the stakeholders engaged were Ramiz Alakbarov, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, H.E. Ms. Jainaba Jagne, the Ambassador of the Gambia to the AU in Ethiopia, H.E. Mr. Javier Niño Pérez, the EU Ambassador to the African Union, and H.E. Prof. Mohammed Belhocine, Commissioner of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation at the AU. These discussions underscored the commitment of the G7 Italian Presidency to collaboration with the AU and its Member States in harnessing AI for sustainable development.


Led by Industry Working Group Co-Chair and Minister Plenipotentiary, Mr. Vincenzo Del Monaco, the G7 Italian Presidency delegation reaffirmed its dedication to addressing critical infrastructure challenges in local AI ecosystems within African countries. Mr. Del Monaco emphasized the aim of the AI Hub for Sustainable Development to catalyze systemic change and accelerate progress towards the SDGs.


Looking ahead, the G7 Italian Presidency and UNDP will continue their engagement with African leaders to co-design an AI Hub for Sustainable Development in 2024. This initiative, involving stakeholders from the technology industry, academia, and start-ups, seeks to advance the SDGs and foster a more prosperous and sustainable future for Africa and the world.


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