Fostering African Data Commons: Embracing the Philosophy of Ubuntu


The advancement of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) in Africa is gaining attraction, serving as a driver for economic expansion and industrial progress across sectors like agriculture, healthcare, and education. However, the A.I. development in Africa is still in its nascent phase due to several factors, including the high cost with building data infrastructure, limited internet accessibility and a shortage of powerful computing resources essential for training A.I. models. Central to these challenges is the scarcity of access to high-quality training data, predominantly controlled by companies located outside of Africa, a phenomenon some describe as “data colonialism.” The fundamental problem arises from the proliferation of privacy-centric regulations embedded within various regulatory regimes and contractual agreements. Consent serves as the mechanism through which individuals in Africa relinquish their personal information. At its essence, data governance centers on the rights of individuals regarding their personal information, reflecting a regulatory philosophy originating in the West.



data commons