IGF 2020 Pre-Event #27 National AI Strategies & AI for Sustainable Development

Tuesday, 3rd November, 2020 (12:40 UTC) - Tuesday, 3rd November, 2020 (13:55 UTC)
Room 3
About this Session
-Presentation of The Future Society's work developing national AI strategies in the Global South with a focus on achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development (Yolanda Lannquist)
-Presentation of the development of Rwanda's National AI Strategy by Kim Schulte (GIZ FAIR Forward), Yolanda Lannquist and Philip Gasaatura (The Future Society)

The Future Society


The Future Society is a nonprofit 'think-and-do-tank' with the mission to advance the responsible adoption of Artificial Intelligence and other emerging technologies for the benefit of humanity.

In this session we will highlight our work supporting developing countries to harness AI for their development objectives and Sustainable Development Goals. Technological advancements in AI are being enabled by greater digital connectivity, rapidly increasing amounts of data, advanced algorithms, and gains in computing and processing power. While AI development is rapid, adoption across markets is still at an early-stage and much of its value is yet to be tapped. There is a window of opportunity to harness AI in developing contexts. The pace and magnitude of the digital revolution suggest that developing areas cannot afford to lag behind in leveraging AI.

AI and digital technologies offer developing areas significant opportunities and risks in a ‘more to gain, more to lose’ paradigm. Countries can harness AI to address pressing social and economic problems. However, AI can also exacerbate important societal risks. Our program builds frameworks of ‘enabling’ policies and practical implementation roadmaps for emerging and developing countries to build and harness artificial intelligence for their development objectives while mitigating important risks.

Building on our existing work with the World Bank Digital Development Partnership to analyze international AI strategies, The Future Society is launching a new program area to advise national AI strategies with a focus on the Global South. 

In 2020-2021, The Government of Rwanda represented by Ministry of ICT and Innovation (MINICT) and Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) with implementation by GIZ FAIR Forward have engaged The Future Society to support the development of Rwanda’s national artificial intelligence strategy.

The Republic of Rwanda has visionary objectives and a proven track record of achieving development goals and harnessing digital technologies for development. Rwanda aims to harness AI, digital and emerging technologies to support Rwanda’s development goals (including sustainable and inclusive growth), become an ICT and Innovation Hub, and position Rwanda as a leader on the African and global stage.

A comprehensive national AI policy, AI ethical guidelines, and a practical implementation strategy fit for the local context can serve as a powerful roadmap to achieve Rwanda’s national development and sustainable development goals. AI has the potential to dramatically improve lives and livelihoods across Rwanda, as well as make remarkable progress towards achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, the socio-economic opportunities are inextricably connected with serious risks which in turn require rigorous planning and design, as well as consideration of and adherence to strong ethical principles throughout the entire lifecycle from strategy inception to operational implementation.

In this session, we look forward to shared dialgoue, your perspectives and interest in supporting AI for human and economic development around the world and the Sustainable Development Goals.