Profit-making idea: Leverage AI to build Africa’s economies

Profit-making idea is a series of short posts, each with a piece of information that we think you might find useful: for investment, for growing your company or to start a new business. Read our previous posts here.

How we made it in Africa asked Adebola Williams, CEO of RED, a Nigerian media and PR company, to identify one untapped business opportunity in Africa. Here was his response:

“For many countries across Africa, the prospects of artificial intelligence (AI) are thrilling because it throws up all kinds of innovations. Across the continent, this technology has the power to bring myriad positive changes in sectors such as healthcare and finance. [This will bridge] … the gap between physical infrastructural inadequacies and consumer brands, while freeing more time for skilled labour and increased labour productivity.

“Despite the pervasive narrative that AI spells doom for Africa’s development, thoughtful planning can leverage it as a tool to help grow the continent’s economies. Economic development depends on increasing worker productivity. For too long, African markets have been stagnant in that capacity, but AI is well poised to change that.

“In countries such as Nigeria and Kenya, and a few others where capital is scarce, but ideas are abundant, process automation can enable businesses to run on leaner models. Moreover, rather than displacing employees, machines can empower low-skilled workers and equip them to take on more complex responsibilities. This, in turn, can help meet an urgent need for countries lacking widespread access to education and skills training.”