The Responsible AI Lab (RAIL) at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) hosted the AI4D Phase 2 workshop at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra from 5th to 8th February 2024. AI stakeholders, funders (GIZ, FCDO, USAID, IDRC, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Lacuna Fund, Mozilla Foundation, Google), documentary makers, and evaluators (Genesis Analytics) participated in the workshop. The workshop sought to bring participants together to learn, collaborate and plan for the future and the project’s next phase.
Prof. Jerry John Kponyo, Principal Investigator and Scientific Director, RAIL, welcomed participants to the workshop.
“Much effort has been put into planning the AI4D Phase 2 workshop because RAIL cherishes its relationship with its funders and stakeholders. Like a mustard seed, the AI4D project has started small but has significant potential to influence and impact Africa and the world,” he said.
Laurent David Elder, IDRC, presented the AI4D vision for development and explained the theory of change concept. He indicated that AI must be responsible if it will be a force for good. He mentioned two key change drivers: Policy and innovation.
“Policy is creating responsible AI governance in the continent, and innovation on responsible AI should be scaled to address developmental challenges,” he said.
A mid-term evaluation of the AI4D Africa program, which focuses on the labs (skills), policy, and innovation, was discussed.
During the poster presentation session, participants interacted based on the posters mounted on various projects.
The workshop had three main breakout sessions where participants were grouped based on labs, policy and innovation. They shared their experiences on the challenges faced in their fields and proposed solutions to address them.
Participants were asked to answer, “How do we get to responsible, inclusive use of AI innovation at scale?” They wrote their answers and ideas on papers with their names on them to show responsibility for their ideas and posted them on boards. They then went through the individual ideas and found the standard linkage between them; they formed groups based on the similarity of their ideas to brainstorm further. After the group discussion, they presented their harmonised ideas in six main themes.
- Readiness to scale
- AI for differently-abled persons
- Responsible AI Framework for Africa
- Strengthen research for policy changes
- Language models
- Effective collaboration
Participants asked funders questions about future programming and AI project funding opportunities. Participants built a community of networks among themselves and interacted extensively during the workshop. A commitment to collaborate was a significant outcome of the workshop.