KENYA RANKS 24TH GLOBALLY IN ICT AS AI FORUM CHARTS PATH FOR REGIONAL INNOVATION

Launching Kenya's AI Readiness Assessment Report at the forum. (Left to right) Dr. James Njogu, acting secretary General and CEO of the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO, Mr Alexandros Makarigakis, director (AI) UNESCO regional office for Eastern Africa, Ms Gabriela Ramos, assistant director-general, social and human sciences, UNESCO, Hon Ezekiel Machogu, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, Kenya, and Mr Peter K. Ngure, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kenya to UNESCO.
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The Eastern Africa Sub-regional Forum on Artificial Intelligence  has  been  concluded  with a high-level session focusing on AI’s role in education and regional development. The event was marked by the handover of Kenya’s AI Readiness Assessment Report, highlighting the country’s position as a regional leader in AI adoption.

In his keynote address,  Hon. Ezekiel Machogu, Cabinet Secretary  ( CS) for the Ministry of Education, Kenya, emphasized the unique opportunities and challenges that AI presents for the region. “In education, AI has a remarkable ability to tailor educational experiences to the unique needs of the learners,” Machogu stated. “It has the potential to bridge educational gaps to deliver more accessible and inclusive education to reach learners marginalized from the current system,” he added.

Integration

The CS  stressed the importance of a balanced approach to AI integration in education. “The framework we use to govern AI in education is for augmenting, not replacing the teacher in the classroom,” he clarified. Concluding his address, he underscored the urgency of AI adoption: “The integration of AI in all sectors is not just an opportunity, it is an imperative. It is on us to ensure that AI serves as a force in the development of the region.”

Ms Gabriela Ramos, assistant director-general, social and human sciences, UNESCO welcomes Hon. Ezekiel Machogu, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, to the final day of the forum. Next to her are Dr. James Njogu (right), acting secretary general and CEO of the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO and  Mr Peter K. Ngure (left), Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kenya to UNESCO.

A highlight of the session was the presentation of Kenya’s AI Readiness Assessment Report. Ms. Gabriela Ramos, UNESCO’s assistant director-general for social and human sciences, commended Kenya’s progress, noting its global ranking of 24th in ICT and its strong performance in ICT service provision and Fintech. “Kenya’s leadership in AI readiness sets a benchmark for the region,” Ramos stated. “We look forward to completing similar assessments for twenty one  other African countries, fostering a continent-wide approach to AI development.”

Dr. Silyvier Tsindoli, lecturer and research consultant at Moi University delivered key highlights and recommendations from the previous two days of the forum. These included: establishing clear succession paths for mentors to promote higher step uptake among women  supported by incentives to increase their participation, ensuring AI does not discriminate against underserved groups such as refugees and persons with disabilities, embedding African values and culture in AI by integrating diverse African languages in technology  and  finally, reducing bias and fostering inclusivity.

The forum, which brought together leaders from across East Africa, including representatives from the East African Community and the African Union Commission, has set a new benchmark for regional cooperation in AI development.

At  the conclusion of  the  forum, it’s clear that East Africa is poised to become a significant player in the global AI landscape. The discussions and outcomes of this landmark event will shape the region’s approach to AI, ensuring that technological advancement goes hand in hand with ethical considerations, inclusivity, and sustainable development.

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