Nine ways AI is making life easier for Kenyans

From healthcare to sports, Kenya is thriving thanks to the technology

In Summary

• AI uses computer systems to perform tasks usually requiring human intelligence

• It analyses data and enhances services, reducing costs and increasing productivity

Illustration of artificial intelligence
Illustration of artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is taking over the world, and Kenya is harnessing its power.

With a thriving tech ecosystem, the country has been steadily incorporating AI solutions across various sectors.

Kenya ranked fifth in Africa for its readiness in delivery of public services, according to the Oxford Insights Government AI readiness 2022 index report. 

It ranked behind Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia and Morocco.

Globally, Kenya was ranked 90th, with a total score of 40.36 per cent.

The report aims to score governments on their readiness to implement AI in the delivery of public services.

AI is being used by governments with the goal of improving efficiency in the delivery of services, ensuring fairer access to services and enhancing citizens’ experience of services.

The analysis was based on 39 indicators across 10 dimensions, which are made up of three pillars: the governmental, technology sector and data and infrastructure pillars.

Under the governmental pillar ranking, Kenya had a score of 40.36 per cent, a score of 51.95 per cent in the data and infrastructure pillar and a score of 28.76 per cent in the technology sector pillar.

Gazzelle in Maasai Mara
Gazzelle in Maasai Mara
Image: AI generated image

In the data and infrastructure pillar, Kenya was among the highest-ranking countries in Africa.

The pillar assesses the state of telecommunications infrastructure, the quality of broadband Internet access and the cost of accessing the internet.

It also assesses the number of cloud computing service providers and the availability of open government data.

On the technology sector pillar, Kenya’s 28.76 per cent was below the world’s average of 35.17 per cent.

According to the report, the pillar assesses the government’s spending on software, the number of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), graduates and the governmental spending on research and development.

It also assesses the quality of higher education in engineering and technology.

However, no African country scored 50 per cent or more in this pillar.

As AI performs well in the Kenyan market, here are some of the most significant successes and innovations.

AI is being used by governments with the goal of improving efficiency in the delivery of services, ensuring fairer access to services and enhancing citizens’ experience of services

1. Agriculture: AI boosting food security and efficiency

Kenya's economy is predominantly agrarian, with agriculture accounting for about 33 per cent of the country's GDP.

However, in recent years, unpredictable weather patterns and pests have threatened food security.

Arifu is an AI-powered mobile platform that offers personalised agricultural advice to farmers.

Established in 2015 as an educational tech company, the solution offers a content marketplace that brings together agricultural experts who wish to earn money.

This is by creating licensable courses as well as companies that wish to improve their performance by efficiently delivering the courses to their customers.

Lions in Kenya's Maasai Mara.
Lions in Kenya's Maasai Mara.
Image: AI generated image

While offering services at a low cost, the platform facilitates an omnichannel delivery of education and information.

This is through an engaging chatbot-style format that targets an audience with or without access to mobile Internet.

Leveraging the power of AI, this solution has reached more than 1 million farmers, helping them improve crop yield and reduce post-harvest losses.

Another noteworthy AI-driven initiative is UjuziKilimo.

It uses machine learning algorithms to analyse soil data and offer tailored crop recommendations to farmers.

This agritech AI-based solutions are not only improving agricultural productivity but also contributing to Kenya's food security.

2. Healthcare: AI enhancing access to quality healthcare

The healthcare sector has been making strides in leveraging AI to improve patient outcomes and enhance access to quality healthcare.

Companies like Ilara Health are using AI-powered diagnostic tools to analyse medical images and enable early detection and treatment of conditions, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Baboons in Kenyya
Baboons in Kenyya
Image: AI generated image

Its vision is to strengthen and digitise primary care clinics, address the lack of accessible and accurate diagnostics services and centres across sub-Saharan Africa.

Since 2019, the diagnostic centre has partnered with more than 1,000 clinics across the country, creating a pathway to 400,000 patients each month.

Totohealth, another Kenyan AI-driven health venture, utilises AI and mobile technology to offer personalised maternal and child healthcare information to parents, reducing maternal and infant mortality rates.

These innovations are transforming the healthcare landscape in Kenya, making it more efficient and easily accessible.

3. Financial Services: AI driving financial inclusion

Kenya is among the top five countries that have made significant progress in digital finance.

This is according to the 2021 Global Findex report released by the World Bank.

According to the report, 79 per cent of Kenyan adults have an account either at a bank, other financial institutions or with a mobile money provider.

AI has been instrumental in driving this financial inclusion.

Safaricom's mobile money platform, M-Pesa, utilises AI algorithms to analyse customer data and offer tailored financial services, such as microloans and saving products.

Additionally, fintech companies like Tala and Branch have leveraged AI and machine learning to assess creditworthiness, providing loans to millions of Kenyans who previously lacked access to formal credit.

These AI-driven solutions are not only bridging the financial gap but also fostering economic growth in Kenya.

Lions in Kenya
Lions in Kenya
Image: AI generated image

4. Education: AI empowering the Kenyan youth

The Kenyan education sector has also benefited from AI integration, with companies like Eneza Education and M-Shule.

These solutions use AI to offer personalised learning experiences to students.

They analyse students' performance data and provide tailored learning content, enabling students to learn at their own pace and maximise their potential.

Moreover, AI-powered career guidance platforms like Fuzu help Kenyan youth make informed decisions about their career paths.

The platform provides them with personalised career recommendations and skill development resources.

Some AI tools, such as ChatGPT, are disrupting the education space as they carry with them negative and positive impacts on how young people interact with them.

Efforts to regulate the tools are ongoing globally.

5. Telecommunications: AI enhancing connectivity and customer experience

Kenya's telco sector has also adopted AI to optimise network performance and improve customer experiences.

Companies like Safaricom use AI-driven analytics to monitor network performance, predict outages and optimise network capacity.

Additionally, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants help resolve customer queries more efficiently, significantly improving customer satisfaction.

For instance, there is Safaricom's virtual assistant and chatbot, Zuri.

By incorporating AI into their operations, Kenyan telcos are setting new standards for connectivity and customer experience.

6. Manufacturing: AI streamlining production and reducing costs

AI continues to become a game-changer in Kenya's manufacturing sector. It is enabling companies to streamline production processes and reduce costs.

AI-driven solutions, such as predictive maintenance and smart robotics, have led to increased efficiency, minimised downtime and reduced waste.

By adopting AI technologies, Kenyan manufacturers are becoming more competitive and positioning themselves for success in the global market.

7. Aviation: AI elevating safety and efficiency

The aviation industry is also leveraging AI to enhance safety and operational efficiency.

Kenya Airways, for instance, uses AI-powered algorithms to optimise flight routes, save fuel as well as reduce flight delays.

Additionally, AI-driven baggage handling systems have streamlined airport operations, minimising lost luggage and improving the overall passenger experience.

As AI continues to make inroads in the aviation sector, Kenya's airports and airlines are set to soar to new heights.

8. Gaming: AI transforming the Kenyan gaming scene

Gaming has witnessed a surge in popularity, with AI playing a significant role in this growth.

By 2018, there were 500 million online gamers in Africa alone.

This increase has been greatly attributed, in part, to the widespread use of mobile phones.

In Kenya, the video gaming market is expanding rapidly as the country now ranks as the ninth most popular gaming hub in Africa.

Since the adoption of 4G broadband internet, with the emergence of tech-savvy youth, Kenya now has one of Africa's major game industries.

The global video gaming sector is currently estimated at $150 billion (Sh15 trillion) and Kenyans continue to vie for a piece of this enormous market.

Baboons in Kenya
Baboons in Kenya
Image: AI generate image

AI-powered game development platforms enable local developers to create immersive and engaging gaming experiences tailored to the Kenyan market.

Moreover, AI-driven analytics helps gaming companies better understand player preferences and behaviour, allowing them to develop targeted marketing strategies and boost user engagement.

However, even though AI is break ground in the gaming industry and with the adoption of 5G gaming zones, there still remains a challenge of access to gaming servers.

As AI continues to shape the gaming industry in Kenya, local developers are poised to make their mark on the global stage.

9. Sports: AI unleashing potential of Kenyan athletes

Kenya, renowned for its world-class athletes, has begun to harness the power of AI in sports.

AI-driven performance analysis tools are being used to monitor and analyse athletes' performance, providing invaluable insights for coaches and trainers.

These data-driven insights enable athletes to enhance their training, prevent injuries and ultimately reach their full potential.

With the advancement in AI, techniques such as the use of neurochips, more people living with disabilities can participate in sports and live normal lives.

This is likely going to solidify the country's position as a global powerhouse in athletics.

Actively leveraging the use of AI in different sectors, Kenya is showing commitment to embracing cutting-edge technologies.

As AI revolutionises industries, from agriculture to aviation, Kenya's story is one of success and innovation.

By harnessing the power of AI, the country is poised to overcome challenges, improve the lives of its people and strengthen its economy, carving a bright future for itself in the rapidly evolving digital world.

Open market in Nairobi Kenya
Open market in Nairobi Kenya
Image: AI generated
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