Melinda Gates visits Nairobi to launch tech initiative for fighting poverty

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta with Melinda Gates, the co-Ccair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, at State House in Nairob, June 28, 2016. /File
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta with Melinda Gates, the co-Ccair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, at State House in Nairob, June 28, 2016. /File

Philanthropist Melinda Gates will visit Kenya on Thursday to launch an initiative that promotes use of new technologies such as artificial intelligence to reduce poverty.

In recent years, researchers have been harnessing AI's data-mining ability to help solve problems that could not be solved before.

The new initiative is called Pathways for Prosperity: A new Commission on Technology and Inclusive Development.

“The commission aims to spark new thinking on how developing countries can best harness new technologies - including robotics, Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing, nanotechnology and blockchain - for inclusive growth and effective government,” said a statement shared with the media.

Melinda will hold a discussion with the the commission's two other co-chairs - Sri Mulyani Indrawati who is Indonesia's finance minister and Strive Masiyiwa, a Zimbabwean billionaire philanthropist and founder of Econet.

The new commission will find what technology can do for jobs and economic opportunities in developing countries.

It will also investigate how emerging technologies can be harnessed for use in the poorest countries to tackle problems and enhance economic opportunities.

“The commission will hold meetings and events around the world over the next two years, with each event focusing on different thematic issues and countries,” the statement said.

The findings will be published to help governments, businesses and civil society groups take advantage of opportunities that technologies present developing countries.

While in Kenya, Melinda will also meet with government leaders, including representatives of the Council of Governors, to learn how counties are prioritising women’s health in their budgets.

She will also be informed of how data can be used to improve family planning programmes at county level.

The philanthropist will also take part in a round table with the Challenge Initiative – an urban reproductive health initiative that aims to scale up access to family planning services in Kenya.

Melinda will also attend an event hosted by non-profit organisation The Moth, featuring personal stories by advocates from across the continent.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta will join her.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation foundation will invest more than $5 billion across Africa in the next five years.