Zambia Paves the Way for AI Innovation with Strategic Initiatives

Zambia is taking significant steps to embrace the future of technology by developing a comprehensive Artificial Intelligence (AI) Framework. Felix Mutati, the country’s Minister of Science and Technology, recently announced that this initiative is already in progress, signaling Zambia’s commitment to technological advancement.

The Zambian government is collaborating with the Tony Blair Institute to formulate an AI Strategy. This partnership aims to leverage the institute’s expertise in providing strategic advice to governments worldwide. Simultaneously, Zambia is working alongside the European Union to craft a Startup Bill, further demonstrating its dedication to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

Recognizing the importance of a robust legal foundation for AI deployment, the government is actively revising the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act. This update is crucial in creating a secure environment for AI implementation while addressing potential risks and challenges.

Mutati shared these developments at the Future of AI in Africa Conference launch in Lusaka, highlighting Zambia’s proactive approach to embracing emerging technologies. The minister’s announcement, made via social media, underscores the government’s commitment to transparency and public engagement in this technological journey.

Earlier in May 2024, at the Copperbelt Agricultural Mining Industrial Networking Enterprise (CAMINEX) event in Kitwe, Mutati revealed that the government had completed drafting the AI strategy. This strategy aims to harness the benefits of cutting-edge technologies across various sectors. At that time, he anticipated the launch of the AI strategy in July 2024, setting a clear timeline for implementation.

In addition to the AI framework, Zambia is taking steps to regulate its Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. The Technology and Science Minister announced plans to issue a Statutory Instrument (SI) to oversee ICT practitioners. This move aims to establish guidelines that will curb misconduct, promote ethical standards, and ensure best practices among professionals in the field.

Zambia’s initiatives align with a growing trend across Africa, as nations recognize the potential of AI and seek to create supportive frameworks. Nigeria, for instance, has engaged 120 experts to develop a co-created framework for AI adoption, with its National AI Strategy securing $3.5 million in seed funding from potential partners.

South Africa is also making strides in this direction, considering AI regulation and planning to establish an AI Expert Advisory Council. This council will play a crucial role in guiding the creation and implementation of AI-related policies and regulations in the country.

These developments across the continent reflect a growing recognition of AI’s potential to drive economic growth, improve public services, and address various societal challenges. By developing comprehensive strategies and regulatory frameworks, African nations are positioning themselves to harness the benefits of AI while mitigating potential risks.

As Zambia moves forward with its AI framework and related initiatives, it sets an example for other nations in the region. The country’s approach, combining international partnerships, local expertise, and a focus on both innovation and regulation, could serve as a model for balanced and responsible AI development in Africa.


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