This article was published by The Future Society in Policy Research, The AI Initiative on July 10, 2021

Opportunities & Challenges of AI in Healthcare in Africa

Main insight

This briefing outlines some of the key opportunities, challenges, and governance pathways for responsible AI adoption in the healthcare sector in Africa. The findings are based on research conducted in TFS’ Responsible AI for Development (RAI4D) program.

Policy ResearchThe AI Initiative
July 10, 2021
2 min read

Artificial intelligence (AI) adoption in the healthcare sector offers opportunities to expand access to services across many levels of care on the African continent. Existing structural inequalities, shortages of qualified healthcare professionals or supplies, barriers to accessibility, affordability and rural and urban divides raise critical barriers. Leveraging digital data and AI can help address gaps in services and expand access to quality healthcare. There are several practical challenges to AI adoption in the healthcare sector such as lack of quality data and technical skills, gaps in digital infrastructure and inclusion, and in cases lack of trust and data governance. Governance pathways for responsible AI adoption are critical and can include expanding digital infrastructure and literacy, data governance and data sharing frameworks, and strategic funding or partnerships to strengthen local startups and skills development.

Head of Research & Advisory Yolanda Lannquist has outlined some of these opportunities, challenges, and governance pathways in a brief high-level report Opportunities & Challenges of AI in Healthcare in Africa. Rather than a comprehensive report, this brief aims to highlight key trends which vary by country.

This research is featured in the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s 2021 Ibrahim Forum Report – Africa & COVID 19: One Year On accessible here.

The findings in the report are based on research undertaken in our Responsible Artificial Intelligence for Development (RAI4D) program. The Future Society (TFS) also thanks our Affiliate Kristophina Shilongo for her contributions to the report.

Related:

The Future Society @ Ibrahim Governance Weekend 2021: Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for Development in Africa During and After the Pandemic

Summary report Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for Development in the Post COVID-19 Era: A Review of National AI Strategies and Policies with the World Bank Digital Development Practice.

Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash.