Three African nations — Nigeria, Kenya, and Rwanda—have joined hands in what’s called “The Bletchley Declaration,” a joint pledge to address the risks of artificial intelligence (AI). They made this commitment alongside 25 other countries, including the US and UK.
This historic agreement to tackle AI risks was signed during the AI Safety Summit held in Bletchley Park, England, hosted by the UK government. The UK’s Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, described it as a significant achievement and emphasised the urgency of understanding AI risks for the benefit of future generations.
Nigeria’s Minister for Digital Economy, ‘Bosun Tijani, during the summit, highlighted the opportunity that AI presents for global development. However, he stressed the importance of ensuring safe, ethical, and inclusive AI development.
Tijani has been a strong advocate for the expanded use of AI in Nigeria to enhance its international competitiveness. His efforts included the launch of a comprehensive national AI strategy and the AI Research Scheme, which provided grants to 45 local startups and researchers to build a sustainable AI ecosystem in the country.
In contrast, Rwanda has taken a lead in AI initiatives. The country established a national AI policy in April 2023, focusing on AI literacy, infrastructure, data strategy, integration in both public and private sectors, and ethical implementation. Rwanda allocated approximately $76.5 million for implementing this policy over the next five years.
Kenya, by signing ‘The Bletchley Declaration,’ has reaffirmed its commitment to addressing existing AI-related risks. Recently, Kenya halted the Worldcoin cryptocurrency project due to concerns about data privacy and security. However, Kenya currently lacks an official national AI strategy or regulatory framework and relies on existing legislation to address AI-related matters.
It’s important to note that all three of these countries are among the top ten African governments well-prepared for AI based on the dimensions of AI readiness according to Oxford Insights
‘The Bletchley Declaration’ was signed by a diverse group of countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, the Philippines, and many others. This declaration marks a global effort to ensure the safe development of AI and build public trust in the technology.