This article was published by The Future Society in Advisory Services, The AI Initiative on October 21, 2021

Leveraging Responsible AI in the Banking Sector in Africa 

Main insight

Between May and August 2021, The Future Society collaborated with the bank Société Générale, its 16 branches in Africa, and the civic tech Bluenove to up-skill Société Générale employees’ understanding about the risks and benefits linked to the adoption of AI in the banking sector. The three workshops organised throughout the summer cumulated in the production of a manifesto for the responsible use of AI and data. 

Advisory ServicesThe AI Initiative
October 21, 2021
2 min read

In 2021, The Future Society collaborated with Bluenove, Société Générale, and its 16 branches in Africa (Algeria, Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Congo, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Mauritania, Morocco, Madagascar, Mozambique, Senegal, Tchad, Togo and Tunisia) to train local collaborators about the opportunities and risks linked to the adoption of AI, especially in the banking sector.

We organized a series of three workshops to raise employees’ awareness, and debate trade-offs across specific use cases: 

  • The first workshop introduced local collaborators to the concept of responsible AI, and to existing corporate guidelines. Kenyan researcher Kathleen Siminyu, from the Mozilla Foundation, notably highlighted the possibility of using natural language processing tools to translate local dialects, and thus increase financial literacy and inclusion in the region. 

  • The second workshop focused on the ethical challenges raised by the use of algorithmic prediction for credit lending. Shameek Kundu, Head of Financial Services and Chief Strategy Officer at Truera, notably highlighted six benefits to deploying machine learning in the banking sector: 1) More effective risk management, 2) Operational efficiency through greater automation, 3) Better customer experience, 4) Higher top-line from existing businesses, 5) New business models, 6) Better internal decision-making. 

  • The third workshop analyzed the potential impact of facial recognition technologies (FRT) in the banking sector. Lofred Madzou, AI Lead at the World Economic Forum, emphasised the risks of fraud and identity theft when deploying FRT without safeguards.

The insights gathered during these fruitful conversations cumulated in the production of a manifesto for the responsible adoption of AI and data in the banking sector, which should be soon publicly released.