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Lillian Barnard, president of Microsoft Africa. (Image source: GITEX Africa)

Exploring Africa's AI surge: Challenges & opportunities collide at AI Everything Expo by GITEX AFRICA, uniting global leaders in Marrakech, 29-31 May 

The burgeoning enthusiasm for AI across Africa is not only revolutionising industries but also fueling a surge in innovation. This momentum will be palpable at the upcoming AI Everything Expo by GITEX AFRICA in Morocco next month, where stakeholders from business, government, and society will converge to explore the transformative potential of AI.

Africa's vast AI opportunity is already reshaping digital landscapes in sectors ranging from finance and agriculture to healthcare and mobility. Analysts predict that the AI market in Africa will grow by 30% annually over the next six years, reaching a value of US$17bn by 2030.

However, alongside this promising growth, significant challenges loom. Africa's population, which is set to reach 1.5 billion people, with 70% under the age of 30, presents both a demographic dividend and a pressing need for talent development, investment allocation, policy formulation, and infrastructure development.

These critical issues will be at the forefront of discussions at the AI Everything Expo by GITEX AFRICA in Marrakech from 29-31 May 2024. The event will serve as a catalyst for accelerating Africa's tech evolution, bringing together global AI leaders such as Microsoft, IBM, Huawei, Nvidia, and Google, alongside a multitude of ambitious startups with a shared vision of leveraging AI to drive positive change across the continent.

An AI continent ‘brimming with investment opportunity’

Microsoft, the world’s most valuable company, and GITEX AFRICA’s official AI partner, is leading the way in the AI investment race, having forged partnerships with the world’s hottest makers of AI models, including the UAE’s G42, a global leader in visionary AI.

Microsoft’s recent US$1.5 billion strategic investment in G42 to accelerate AI development in growing economies such as Africa will be welcomed by big tech executives, government leaders, investors and tech entrepreneurs alike at GITEX AFRICA 2024, which will also feature Presight, G42’s big data analytics company powered by generative AI.

Lillian Barnard, president of Microsoft Africa, “Africa has long been recognised for its formidable growth prospects and AI is the long-awaited key to help unlock that potential,” said Barnard, who will also be a headline speaker at GITEX AFRICA’s power-packed conference programme.

“The AI-powered innovation we’re seeing today is poised to reinvent every aspect of society from healthcare to financial services, manufacturing and beyond. If Africa is to benefit from the paradigm shift currently sweeping the globe, we must make the promise of AI real for people and organisations across the continent – and do so responsibly. GITEX provides us with a platform to come together and work towards fulfilling that commitment,” remarked Barnard.

Dr Adel Alsharji, the chief operating officer of Presight, added that Africa is the second-fastest growing region globally in AI adoption. “Africa’s AI journey is gaining momentum, and this progress highlights the continent’s readiness to explore and harness the potential of AI for driving economic growth and addressing local challenges,” said Alsharji, adding that demand for AI-related jobs will increase two-fold over the next three years. “AI could add US$13 trillion to the global economy by 2030, while the number of AI-related jobs in Africa alone is expected to grow by 200 percent by 2025.”

A formidable African force in a world-changing AI revolution

The AI Everything Expo will gather the brightest minds and most innovative thinkers in the field of AI at the AI Everything Conference, one of ten powerful conference stages at GITEX AFRICA, the continent’s largest tech and start-up show.

AI and it’s far-reaching multisectoral impact will be evident on the exhibition floor, with exhibitors showcasing how the AI boom is turbocharging waves of innovation across industries, from education and agriculture, to transport, retail, energy, or logistics.

Clinify, a Nigerian start-up epitomises this movement in the healthcare sector, and is one of hundreds of global change-makers at GITEX AFRICA’s North Star Africa start-up showcase. Clinify, an electronic medical record (EMR) platform seeks to digitise patients’ medical records in Africa, where 90% of such information is still paper based.

Founded in 2020, the AI-powered model will increase access to healthcare across Africa, where, according to CEO and Founder Michael Omidele, there’s an urgent need for centralised and digitised medical records. “Africa’s healthcare sector faces several challenges; there’s only one doctor available for every 10,000 patients whereas the average in developed countries is one doctor for every 250 people,” said Omidele.

“Clinify is a one of a kind African solution offering a digitally centralised and standardised interoperable aggregator of healthcare systems, a telemedicine platform, and an EMR solution giving patients access to their medical records. Our goal is to network with healthcare providers, to expand this innovation from Nigeria and export it across Africa.”

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