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Rwanda’s AI strategy: From vision to reality

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Rwanda’s AI

Rwanda’s AI policies are improving access to healthcare in Rwanda Image: Unsplash / National Cancer Institute


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  • Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform economies and societies, but governments and businesses need to start preparing now
  • The Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) in Rwanda has played a key role in developing the country’s national AI policy.
  • The policy is set to drive economic growth, enhance public service delivery, and foster inclusive and sustainable development in the country.

The impact of a national AI policy,

From healthcare and education to agriculture and trade, artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform economies and societies. Given the pace of change, countries need to start planning for the years ahead to make sure they can seize the opportunities that advanced AI will bring, while mitigating potential risks.

Among these forward-thinking nations, Rwanda has taken a decisive step. The country has recently unveiled its national AI policy, outlining its vision to position itself as the leading hub on the African continent for experimentation, development and deployment of trustworthy and scalable AI technologies. This policy not only outlines Rwanda’s aspirations, but lays out a clear roadmap towards achieving its vision.

The World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) in Rwanda has been a key contributor in helping shape the country’s AI strategy. Collaborating with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation and the German development agency, GIZ, C4IR Rwanda was able to integrate international insights with the country’s unique needs. This collaboration ensured the AI policy is tailored to its socio-economic context, underpinned by global standards and informed by a diverse environment, including the private sector, government and academia.

"The policy represents a significant milestone in the launch and development of Rwanda’s AI ecosystem and is a critical step towards achieving our national development goals. We are positioning ourselves to become the leading destination in Africa for experimenting with and developing trustworthy AI technologies contextualized for the African continent."

Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation, Rwanda

The Rwanda AI policy aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • Position the country at the centre of AI innovation in Africa and as a model of responsible AI practices
  • Build cutting-edge skills and proficiency in AI for the 21st century
  • Create an open, secure and trusted data ecosystem to enable the AI revolution
  • Drive transformation in the public sector through AI-driven innovations
  • Accelerate the adoption of responsible AI in the private sector

What’s the challenge to AI adoption?

Countries worldwide are recognizing the potential of artificial intelligence (AI). This technology brings opportunities that could change many sectors, from healthcare to urban planning. Yet, with new advancements come new challenges.

Even in Rwanda, known for its innovative technological initiatives, these challenges are real. The healthcare sector needs to adapt to the increasing demand for quick and efficient services. Cities are looking for ways to manage growing traffic and address environmental issues. Businesses are navigating the digital shift, and employees are learning new skills to keep up.

For Rwanda, like many other nations, having a clear plan is essential to ensure that the benefits of AI are widespread and benefit everyone.

Our approach to helping Rwanda unlock the benefits of AI.

In 2020, the Forum partnered with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation of Rwanda to launch the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Kigali. As the first centre to join the Forum’s C4IR Network from the African continent, C4IR Rwanda has been supporting the country to unlock the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution since its inception. This was achieved by creating a thriving technology environment and adopting agile governance principles to develop world-leading technology policies.

C4IR Rwanda was instrumental in the development of the country’s Data Protection and Privacy Law, which paved the way for secure AI application deployments such as AI-assisted chatbots for triaging patients needing urgent medical care.


AI for Healthcare in Rwanda

C4IR Rwanda collaborated with the Rwandan government and other key partners on the AI policy, which charts Rwanda's ambition to emerge as a mayor player for AI in Africa.

Among its responsibilities laid out in the policy, C4IR Rwanda will have several roles that will help shape the AI landscape in the country:

  • Taskforce establishment: Setting up a joint taskforce from public and private sector to develop frameworks and protocols for data sharing across industries.
  • Evaluation of data-sharing platform: Conducting a feasibility study for the implementation of a data sharing platform for Rwanda.
  • Capacity building: Conducting sessions to support the understanding and implementation of data sharing frameworks for both public entities and private businesses.
  • AI readiness assessment: Developing an annual AI Readiness Index and Maturity Assessment Framework to benchmark Rwanda's AI progression.
  • Guidance on AI procurement: Developing clear guidelines for Al implementation in the public sector.
  • Workshops development: Organizing workshops with global industry experts and live demonstrations to showcase the benefits of AI to private sector stakeholders.
  • Tailored AI deployment plans: Developing sector-specific industry Al deployment plans, providing step-by-step guides on Al digital solutions to adopt at each stage of a company’s growth

By embracing these roles, C4IR Rwanda stands at the forefront of propelling the country into a new era of AI excellence.

Get involved.

If you are interested in partnering with C4IR Rwanda to support the implementation of the above deliverables, get in touch.

If you are interested in partnering with the World Economic Forum to establish a C4IR in your country or region dedicated to unlocking the potential of exponential technologies, explore our global network and contact us.

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Marco Aguilar
Marketing Communications Lead, World Economic Forum
Related topics:
Emerging TechnologiesFourth Industrial Revolution
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Babylon HealthCentre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) RwandaCentre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, United Arab EmiratesMinistry of Information Communication Technology and Innovation of RwandaMitsubishiMitsubishi Chemical GroupWorld Economic Forum
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