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African countries must collaborate to harness AI potential — Yofi Grant

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Yofi Grant, wants African countries to adopt what he described as tailored institutional development policies and foster international collaboration to navigate the evolving landscape of Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

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He said establishing conducive environments for AI startups requires a comprehensive approach, leveraging public-private initiatives and incentivising innovation. 

Additionally, he said policymakers must balance the opportunities of AI with potential challenges, focusing on empowering workers, bridging digital divide, and fostering digital skills. 

Mr Grant who said this at the Nobel International Business School (NiBS) Doctoral graduation ceremony in Accra on the theme: ‘Thriving under Emerging Economic Opportunity: The Role of Artificial Intelligence’, noted that by doing so, African countries can position themselves to reap the benefits of AI advancements and mitigate adverse effects and ensure inclusive development.

It saw 52 deserving students formally welcomed into the ranks of academic greatness with degrees such as Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and Doctor of Business Leadership (DBL).

Driving digital transformation 

The Deputy Director General, Technical Operations at the National Communications Authority (NCA), Prof. Ezer Osei Yeboah-Boateng, said much as industrial AI has the potential to drive digital transformation and innovation in Ghana's industries and technologies, its adoption faces challenges such as lack of technical skills, unstructured data, and ethical considerations. 

Therefore, he said as AI technologies become more autonomous, it is important to reconsider responsibility and prioritise transparency over performance in AI systems. 

This shift, he said, could lead to new techniques and applications that incorporate collective, societal, and ethical values in their design and use.

“Large organisations often require numerous enterprise AI solutions to address various use cases. However, developing and deploying custom enterprise AI solutions at scale presents significant challenges due to time, cost, and expertise constraints. 

Acquiring off-the-shelf solutions for tasks such as facial recognition technology and inventory optimisation can be a more practical approach,” he stated.

Embracing AI

Prof. Yeboah-Boateng further advised graduands to embrace innovation, champion transparency, and drive AI initiatives that align with national development priorities stating: “as you step out into the world, remember that you hold the potential to harness AI not only for personal and professional growth but also for the development of Ghana. 

AI offers tools that can help address critical challenges such as healthcare, agriculture, education, and governance.”

Drive transformation 

The Founder and President of NiBS, Prof. Kwaku Atuahene-Gima, challenged the graduates to make changes in their professions by sharing what they have learned.

He said the doctoral graduates possess a unique blend of business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit, making them ideal catalysts for driving AI-driven transformation within organisations.

“You are prepared to make significant strides in your respective industries, thanks to your extensive education and research experience. NiBS is proud of your accomplishments and believes in your ability to lead in creating a better future for the business environment,” he said.

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