Investment experts at the Africa Investment Forum Market Days in Marrakech highlighted the enormous opportunities for investment in African e-commerce and telemedicine, driven by transformative technologies like artificial intelligence (AI). The panel discussion, titled Digital Disruptors and Transformative Technology, featured insights from industry leaders in Africa.
During the discussion, Femi Adeagbo commended Africa’s telecom progress over the last few decades, particularly the shift from landlines to mobile phones, which has created significant employment opportunities. However, he also cautioned against potential negative effects such as the spread of fake news and job losses due to AI.
The panel emphasized the potential of AI to drive digital inclusion and address socio-economic challenges across various sectors, including climate, medicine, education, job creation, agriculture, energy, and food. They stressed the importance of AI in accelerating development and connecting African businesses to global markets.
Samuel Alemayehu proposed several sectors in which AI could be applied, including local medicine manufacturing, electricity generation through reactors, and palm oil and nitrogen production. Liz McAreavey emphasized the need for Africa to effectively utilize AI for inclusive transformation, warning of potential lagging behind without proactive adoption.
The panel also highlighted the social and ethical dimensions of AI and emphasized the importance of government regulations to mitigate emerging risks. They urged African countries to make strategic decisions, foster public-private collaboration, build robust ecosystems, and replicate successful practices across nations. Additionally, the importance of women’s access to technology was highlighted, focusing on the role of digital tools in fostering transparency and innovation.
Adnane Ben Halima provided examples of Huawei’s initiatives, such as the talent bank for job creation and talent retention and the Women in Africa program. He called for infrastructure development to address connectivity disparities, particularly among the 40% of women who currently lack internet access.
Overall, the panel discussion underscored the tremendous investment opportunities in African e-commerce and telemedicine, driven by AI and other transformative technologies. The experts encouraged African countries to embrace AI, focus on digital inclusion, and adopt proactive strategies to ensure inclusive development and global connectivity.