This article was published by The Future Society in Advisory Services, Policy Research, The AI Initiative on March 8, 2021

National AI Policies for Inclusive & Sustainable Development

Main insight

This program builds tailored AI policy, regulatory, and governance approaches and instruments to support countries’ efforts to harness artificial intelligence responsibly to achieve their national objectives and sustainable development goals.

Advisory ServicesPolicy ResearchThe AI Initiative
March 8, 2021
3 min read

The Future Society’s (TFS) National AI Policies for Inclusive & Sustainable Development program builds tailored AI policy, regulatory, and governance approaches and instruments to support countries’ efforts to harness artificial intelligence responsibly to achieve their national objectives and sustainable development goals.

AI and digital technologies offer developing countries significant opportunities and risks in a ‘more to gain, more to lose’ paradigm: AI can be harnessed to accelerate industrial and technological sectors, but also has the capacity to exacerbate existing social and economic inequalities. Our programs build frameworks of ‘enabling’ policies and practical implementation roadmaps for emerging and developing countries to utilize artificial intelligence for their development objectives while mitigating important risks. 

In 2019, in collaboration with the World Bank’s Digital Development Partnership (DDP), The Future Society launched a research & advisory project on Policy Pathways to Harness AI for Development.  The project first analyzed over 20 national AI policies to map how governments around the world are using AI to support their development objectives and make progress towards tackling each of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This research work was subsequently amplified through collaboration with the OECD AI Policy Observatory, UNESCO, the World Government Summit, and other international organizations and governments.

The Future Society is now applying its expertise in AI governance in co-developing Rwanda’s National AI Policy with GIZ, to be followed by others in the Global South. Our guidance to governments about responsible artificial intelligence supports a broad range of countries beyond those leading in AI today.

Case Project: Developing Rwanda’s National AI Strategy 

The Future Society is supporting the Government of Rwanda in developing Rwanda’s National Artificial Intelligence Policy in collaboration with Ministry of ICT and Innovation (MINICT), Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) and GIZ FAIR Forward. The development and adoption of AI has the potential to dramatically improve lives and livelihoods across Rwanda, as well as make concrete progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, socio-economic opportunities are inextricably linked to risks that require foresight and mitigation, as well as adherence to defined ethical principles throughout the entire implementation lifecycle, from strategy inception to operationalization.

A comprehensive national AI policy framework that includes ethical guidelines and an implementation strategy fit for the local context can serve as a powerful roadmap enabling Rwanda to harness AI’s socio-economic benefits and mitigate its risks. Our approach involves in-depth analysis, sectoral and cross-sectoral, of the local strengths, needs, opportunities, challenges, policies (e.g. Rwanda’s Data Revolution Policy, Vision 2050, Smart Rwanda Master Plan, etc.) and meaningful engagement of local stakeholders. Ultimately, the strategic aim is to accelerate AI adoption in key sectors and public services in order to achieve clearly-defined objectives linked to public impact, economic & employment growth, sustainable development, and capacity-building in Rwanda.

The Concept Note for The Future Society’s program National AI Policies for Inclusive & Sustainable Development can be accessed here: (Link forthcoming)

Find any related job openings here: https://thefuturesociety.org/jobs/

Learn about our project supporting Rwanda’s Ministry of ICT and Innovation, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority, and GIZ FAIR Forward to develop Rwanda’s National AI Policy

The Future Society @ Internet Governance Forum: AI for SDGs and National AI Strategies

The Future Society @ Stakeholder Workshop for Rwanda’s National AI Policy

The Future Society @ Internet Governance Forum Rwanda

The Future Society @ UN Data Forum: Leveraging Data and AI to Achieve the SDGs while Moving Toward a Global Data Access Framework