IGF 2022 WS #439 Afro-feminist AI Governance; Challenges and Lessons

Wednesday, 30th November, 2022 (06:30 UTC) - Wednesday, 30th November, 2022 (08:00 UTC)

Organizer 1: Civil Society, African Group
Organizer 2: Civil Society, African Group

Speaker 1: Boakye Bridget, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Shilongo Kristophina, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Yolanda Lannquist, Civil Society, Intergovernmental Organization


Birds of a Feather - Classroom - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

What are the challenges in the development and operationisation of AI governance frameworks globally and in Africa? What are commonalities and contrasts in developing frameworks for use across a continent as diverse as Africa? Do the policy areas/considerations outlined in the Afro-feminist AI Governance framework highlight any gaps in existing continental digital policies in Africa?

Connection with previous Messages:



Targets: The goal of our session is to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies and institutions. The role of AI in today’s society is ubiquitous and extremely significant. Understanding how AI and related technologies can be successfully regulated and governed to minimise negative impacts and outcomes effectively is tied to the strength of these institutions.


In today’s data-driven world, the existence of subsisting and emerging technologies and their accompanying challenges to human rights and inclusion require in-depth, critical analysis. Growingly apparent, while posing risks to the general population, these challenges are also disproportionately damaging to minority and vulnerable populations. Understanding these risks and their impact has spurred efforts to develop and build frameworks shaping the creation of Artificial Intelligence globally. However, globally, these efforts have been led and shaped by values and stakeholders from the Global North, to the exclusion of the Global South even as adoption of these technologies continues to grow in the region, a gap reflecting biases and providing an insightful illustration into the problem of AI integration and deployment today. Appropriately and adequately regulating the use of these technologies in Africa, with its unique history and culture, therefore requires the development of Afro-centric frameworks involving African stakeholders with an understanding of the relevant issues. This aligns with the goals and objectives at Pollicy, Research ICT Africa, The Future Society (TFS) and the Tony Blair Institute (TBI) to contribute and shape some of the incredible research emerging in this space on the African continent. Part of this includes developing an Afro-feminist AI Governance framework leveraging our past and growing experience and research. The framework will be developed with an eye for technologists, members of civil society and policymakers, highlighting some of the trends in the growing development of AI in Africa, the gaps in other frameworks and novel insight for significant markers and landmarks to take note of in AI development. This is in line with Research ICT Africa’s ongoing work under the Africa Just AI Policy Centre, which is a public-interest research centre investigating the contextually fitting AI governance frameworks for African countries. Similar to Pollicy, this research also applies a gender lens to its analysis. This research also supports the public policy and government advisory work at TBI where we are supporting governments with technology policy development through a workstream on AI governance and policy. In addition, TFS works to support national AI strategies in Africa in AI Policies we developed in Rwanda, Ghana and Tunisia. An early iteration of the Afro-feminist AI Governance framework, which will be collaboratively developed, will be presented and launched during our annual DataFest in July 2022. Feedback from participants during this event will be noted and further used to strengthen the framework, which will then be launched at our session during the Deep Learning Indaba Conference in August in Tunis in conjunction with the Tony Blair Institute. Following this launch, our goal for this workshop is to share some of the on-going challenges, and lessons involved in this process as part of our goal to demystify and make governance and policymaking accessible.

Expected Outcomes

We hope to highlight how African cultural and historical contexts define the need for a unique approach to AI governance and policy. We seek to promote community building, awareness and movement in Africa about the impact of Artificial Intelligence We seek to identify organisations with common ideals and values interested in human rights and policy issues related to Artificial Intelligence to promote cross-continental collaborations. We seek to foster discussion and gain insight on the commonalities between the impact of AI and other data-enabling and data-enabled technologies to promote cross-pollination and knowledge sharing.

Hybrid Format: We plan to facilitate and initiate interactions between on-site and online speakers and attendees through: Pre-session publicity. I. Pollicy and TBI will publicise this session and our participation at the IGF on our social media channels and the social media channels of our co-panelists. Ii. Encourage interested participants to ask questions about the framework prior to the event During the session itself We will have a member of our team join online. This person will be responsible for noting down questions, comments, reactions and raised hands and engage with the online audience. At regular intervals, the onsite moderator will revert to the online moderator if there are any questions or comments worth noting. The onsite moderator will ask the online audience questions directly and elicit their response as the session progresses. Doing these will ensure that persons who are unable to attend on site will be able to join and participate.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.