After investing $76.5 million in the national Artificial Intelligence (AI) policy over the next five years, Rwanda anticipates receiving an estimated $589 million (about Rwf731 billion), or six percent of GDP.
A research by the international consulting firm McKinsey, in association with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, indicates this is the potential of AI solutions in Rwanda’s economy.
With the release of a National AI Policy that emphasizes AI literacy, infrastructure, data strategy, acceptance of AI in both the public and private sectors, and ethical application, Rwanda has made noteworthy progress in supporting AI innovation and adoption as the technology continues to take the world by storm. Rwanda plans to house certain innovators in an effort to become a hotspot for innovation.
According to Norbert Haguma, a fintech and blockchain technology specialist in the area, this estimate is a key sign of the transformative potential of AI in the nation. It reflects the idea that AI can spur economic growth, innovation, and efficiency in a variety of industries, including financial services, healthcare, and agriculture, all of which can increase GDP.
Some of the innovations include AI-driven solutions for agriculture and healthcare, as well as new initiatives for smart cities. AI is also being used in the financial sector to improve good governance and service delivery by reducing risk and detecting fraud. These applications of AI result in lower loan costs and protect against fraud.
Haguma stated, “We need an innovation ecosystem that supports startups and researchers, collaboration between academia and industry, and the necessary infrastructure, including high-speed internet and data centers vital for AI development,” highlighting the need for Rwanda to adopt a multisector approach in order to fully realize AI’s potential across sectors.
Use of AI by Sector
Thus far, a multitude of industries and establishments have embraced the application of AI to augment their capabilities and optimize service delivery through task automation. Numerous use cases in the fields of agriculture and health have demonstrated various ways to use and exploit AI models.
Paula Ingabire, the Minister of ICT and Innovation, cites numerous instances of AI tools being used in the agricultural industry, where they may be applied to weather predicting problems and offer farmers practical insights throughout the farming seasons.
Furthermore, it can help organizations like the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RAZA) with their efforts to enhance tax collection systems and manage claims for health insurance plans. It can also empower community healthcare workers by providing them with generative AI tools such as chat GPT, which facilitates real-time information exchange in Kinyarwanda.
According to Ingabire, “we expect an economic value close to $600 million with the jobs that will be created and efficiencies generated from AI solutions.”