21.12.2018 - Africa Department

Artificial intelligence at the heart of UNESCO's Priority Africa

©UNESCO/Luis Abad

UNESCO held its first forum on artificial intelligence (AI) in Africa, from 12 to 13 December 2018, in Benguerir, Morocco. Organized jointly with Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, this forum brought together international experts from various fields of activity. The issues, challenges and opportunities related to AI were at the heart of these two days of reflection and collaboration.

At the conclusion of the discussions, the participants unanimously adopted the Benguerir Declaration, agreeing on the need to promote AI as a lever for development that focuses on the human dimension and is rooted in human rights principles and standards. “Panellists encourage the African Union, regional economic communities, governments, academic institutions and professional associations, the private sector, civil society and international organizations to promote an equitable, rights-based, open and accessible to all and multi-stakeholder AI as an instrument for the empowerment of African peoples.”

In addition, all the experts made a strong appeal to the African Union and the partners of the regional economic communities to develop a continental AI strategy based on an approach that includes all actors in this field. Actions such as the organization of forums that encourage the increased use of AI at national and sub-regional levels are thus expected on the continent.

Closing the exchanges, Mr Firmin Edouard Matoko, Assistant Director-General for Priority Africa and External Relations at UNESCO, said: “Africa has missed the second industrial revolution, it has no right to miss the third revolution, and it must not miss the fourth revolution, the digital revolution, the big data revolution, the one that will determine post-humanism and the future of the planet”.

Click here for the Forum Website

Click here to watch the openning ceremony




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