Big Data and Machine Learning: What Ethical Issues for Africa?

Published on 19th July 2018

The 8th IREN Eastern Africa Thought Leaders Forum

Theme: Big Data and Machine Learning: What Ethical Issues for Africa?

Date:  September 12-15, 2018

Venue: Nairobi, Kenya

Big data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, like a double aged sword, offer both opportunities and threat to Africa’s future. Whoever can ‘mine’ big data and configure it into useable formats has the “oil” to power the socio-economic and political activities. At what level are African countries in the spectrum of data mining and protection? What opportunities and risks do data sets fed into machines by human beings portend?  How does Artificial Intelligence address the challenges of bias in a World order that has for centuries held Africa at the periphery? The 8thInter Region Economic Network (IREN) Eastern Africa Thought Leaders’ Forum will focus on “Big Data and Machine Learning:  What Ethical Issues for Africa?”

Forum objectives:

  • To map out usage of Big Data, Data Mining and Artificial Intelligence in Africa
  • To discuss how historical, social and political contexts may impact on use of Artificial Intelligence in Africa
  • To discuss the ethics of data mining and Artificial Intelligence and recommend policy interventions for Africa

Expected Participants

Data Scientists, Credit Reference Bureaus, Cloud Resellers, Telecom Operators, Internet Service Providers, Media, Opinion pollsters, CIDs, Heads of Digital & Strategy, Heads of Data Analytics, Modelling and Mining staff, Heads of Marketing, System and Business Analysts, Market Researchers and Consultants, Database Administrators and Military officers, among others.

Proposed Outcome

  • Policy Intervention Guidelines for Africa on Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence



Initiated in 2011, the IREN Eastern Africa Thought Leaders Forum seeks to identify strategies that will enable East Africans to organically evolve their own political and socio-economic systems; identify key approaches to address recurring threats in East Africa and to nurture futuristic thinkers in the region.

Previous forums have discussed: The Liberal Economic Order and One Belt One Road: Scenarios for East Africa in 2025; How East Africans can position themselves to benefit from the Cape to Cairo Free Trade Zone; Essential elements for African leadership in the Global Jungle; African Indigenous Games of Strategy and Africa’s Core Interests: How to make Africans’ Dreams Valid; and Leadership in Africa in the 21st Century: What Role for Intellectuals?

Email Mr. Juma [email protected] for more details.

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