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Global South, Geopolitics, and U.S, Europe, and China’s Competition to Influence Global AI Regulation

April 17, 2024

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Berkman Klein Multipurpose Room (Room 515)

1557 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

About the Initiative:

This event, co-hosted with the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law and Policy, is part of an initiative for policymakers, business leaders, and academics in the Global South and around the world to meaningfully discuss how emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) are transforming governance.

As the digital era continues to evolve, AI governance is becoming a critical issue that requires comprehensive and inclusive approaches. This event will cover the nuances of AI governance in Africa and the broader Global South, a particularly important topic for developing equitable models that effectively serve diverse populations. The goal of this collaboration is to advocate for balanced AI governance approaches that take into account the impact on labor, the environment, sustainability, human rights, economic development, privacy, and governance and meet the needs of local communities rather than imposing one-size-fits-all policy solutions derived from Europe.

This collaborative effort intends to identify unique challenges and solutions in AI adoption and governance, focusing on Africa and the rest of the Global South, and produce scholarly and share actionable insights seeking to bring these to life.

About the Panel:

The panel discussion seeks to discuss the evolving state of African AI governance and engagement. Precisely in the context of intensifying competition between the US and China, and the growing dependence of African states on Chinese technical artifacts. It asks and aims to address questions like what impedes further African participation in global AI governance frameworks, what are the prospects for enhanced collaboration between African regional bodies,  the US, and others to address shared challenges, and how African nations leverage their agency to negotiate favorable terms with global powers while safeguarding their interests? Accordingly, the panel seeks to bring together regional experts to examine the multifaceted dimensions of AI regulation, seeking to foster more nuanced understandings of the choices of African state and sub-state actors. Thus, please join us for an enriching discussion that centers Global South volition and its  role in this emerging digital inflection point.

About the Speakers:

Nanjira Sambuli: is a researcher, policy analyst and strategist interested in and working on understanding the unfolding, gendered impacts of ICT adoption on governance, diplomacy, media, entrepreneurship and culture. Nanjira is a Fellow in the Technology and International Affairs Program at The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a Ford Global Fellow. She is also a co-Chair of Transform Health, and board member at The New Humanitarian, Development Gateway, and Digital Impact Alliance. Nanjira advises the Carnegie Council’s AI and Equality Initiative and the Alliance for Inclusive Algorithms. She is a member of the Gender Advisory Board at the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD). She is also a Diplomacy Moderator at the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA). Nanjira served as a Commissioner on the Lancet & Financial Times Governing Health Futures 2030 Commission, as a panel member on the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, and as a deputy on the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel for Women’s Economic Empowerment.

Shikoh Gitau is the award-winning CEO of Qhala, a digital innovation company that catalyzes the digital transformation of African organizations. She is also a co-founder and Managing Partner of Q-Ventures, a human capital fund working with African subject matter experts to design tech solutions that address the continent’s most persistent problems. Q-venture boasts a portfolio of 12 early-stage ventures in various sectors with a bias towards women first-time founders. Shikoh has over 15 years of experience in venture building, research, design, implementation, and management of digital technologies. Shikoh has nurtured a lifelong career in building tech innovations that solve real-world problems in agriculture, education, health, payments, retail and renewable energies in African and emerging markets. One of these innovations is CEMA, a platform that allows health professionals and health researchers to access government health data for research and to visualize that data in ways that tell a story. Data modeling and visualization from CEMA informed the strategy of the government of Kenya in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. During her time at Microsoft, Google and the African Development Bank (AfDB), Shikoh influenced governments in Africa and emerging markets to adopt tech to effect service delivery. Shikoh developed the Digital Government Blueprint, a strategic document to guide governments in digital transformation, now adopted by Smart Africa. Shikoh holds a PhD and an MSc in Computer Science from the University of Cape Town, South Africa

Osei Bonsu Dickson: is Chief Legal Advisor at Ministry of National Security of the Republic of Ghana, Adjunct Professor of Practice at the Center for Strategic and Defense Studies, Africa, and National Coordinator of the United States-Ghana Security Governance Initiative (SGI) Secretariat where he leads cyber, maritime, border and CBRN programs within the national security establishment.

Moderator: ​​Bulelani Jili is a Meta Research Ph.D. Fellow at Harvard University. His research interests span Africa-China relations, Cybersecurity, Law, and Critical Theory. He is also a Fellow at Yale Law School, the Atlantic Council, and the Belfer Center, and he is conducting research with the China, Law, Development project at Oxford University, aiming to understand the nature of the order that underlies China’s new globalism. He has advised leading think tanks and governments, and his writing has appeared in publications including African Affairs, Nature, and Politico. Prior to attending Harvard, Bulelani worked at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research in South Africa as a Visiting Researcher. He earned an M.Phil. from Cambridge University, an M.A. in Economics from Yenching Academy of Peking University, and an A.B. honors, in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Wesleyan University.

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April 17, 2024, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

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