According to ITU, 2015 saw a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. World leaders adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the landmark United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York.

With 10 years left to reach the SDGs, Werner says that it is time to 'move the needle' and use AI to meet these goals by 2030. The ITU says that AI can help solve humanity's greatest challenges.

Its AI for Good Global Summit — a leading action-oriented, global and inclusive United Nations platform on AI has since 2017 identified, strategised and created new projects, roadmaps and initiatives around the use of AI to accelerate progress towards the SDGs.

As part of its AI for Good Webinar Series, ITU  — in partnership with AI Media Group and Alliance4ai — held a webinar that explored Africa's varying AI strategies and how they are impacting on the continent's economic growth. This took place in June.

"We have 10 years left to achieve the 17 SDGs and we need to act now to make this happen," says Werner. "AI solutions that we identify today need a few years to develop, a few more years to achieve scale and then a few years after that to achieve the desired impact."

"At a minimum, we are looking at a 10-year timeline, bringing us right up to 2030. We have to act now if we want a chance of moving the needle," adds Werner.

The 2020 edition of the AI Expo Africa will be held online between Thursday, 3 September and Friday, 4 September. The event comprises a speaker line up led by Kay Firth-Butterfield, head of AI and machine learning at the World Economic Forum.

The line up also includes:
  • Neil Sahota, IBM Master Inventor, United Nations AI expert and lecturer at the University of California
  • Bayo Adekanmbi, CTO MTN Nigeria and founder of Data Science Nigeria
  • South Africa's minister of communications, telecommunications and Postal Services Stella Tembisa Ndabeni-Abrahams
  • Tshilidzi Marwala
  • vice-chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, and
  • deputy head of the 4IR Commission of South Africa
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