Responsible AI for Gender Equity in Africa’s Circular Economy

Project Goal

The project aims to explore the use of AI to reduce food waste at different points in South Africa's food supply chains.

Project’s summary

Food waste is a systemic problem that happens along every step of the food supply chain, from farm and field to fork. This not only poses a problem of entrenching food insecurity, poverty, and inequality in South Africa (SA) but also exacerbates climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. There are proposals that deployment of data-driven systems such as artificial intelligence (AI) can boost resource efficiency (RE) and support the transition to systems that minimize food waste at different points in the food supply chain. But most of these proposals are only sociotechnical imaginaries from the global North and fail to elaborate the risks and harms of deploying data-driven technologies in the global South and/or in existing inequitable ecosystems that discriminate against women. By actively incorporating an intersectional gender inclusion lens, this case study will explore AI use to reduce food waste at different points of in SA food supply chains

Project leader’s name

SHAMIRA AHMED est la fondatrice et directrice exécutive du ??Data Economy Policy Hub?? (DepHUB), le premier groupe de reflexion indépendant fondé par une femme africaine autochtone en Afrique du Sud.

She is a Policy Leader Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI), Chair of the Digital for Development (D4D) Hub, Civil Society & Academia Advisory Group (CSAAG), and a member of various working groups.

Shamira is a policy entrepreneur, experienced quantitative economist, and interdisciplinary policy and research specialist with a track record of leading multi-country research projects, producing high-quality knowledge outputs, managing the data value chain, and working in multicultural, multidisciplinary, and dynamic work environments across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

She has experience providing technical assistance to policymakers and regulators in SSA, including through co-authorship of confidential and non-confidential knowledge products such as the "African Union (AU) Commission's Data Policy Framework", amongst others.

Associate Consultant

STELLA NALWOGA est une avocate internationale spécialisée dans les politiques numériques et de données, la réglementation de l’intelligence artificielle (IA) et le droit commercial international.  Son expérience s’étend sur des géographies couvrant l’Asie, l’Union européenne (UE) et l’Afrique subsaharienne (ASS). Stella possède une expertise reconnue dans la conduite de projets de recherche et d’assistance technique axés sur le développement durable et inclusif en Afrique subsaharienne.  La proposition de valeur fondamentale de Stella est qu’elle peut appliquer une triple perspective juridique, politique et économique à sa recherche et fournir des résultats de haute qualité sur des projets multiples avec une équipe diversifiée de professionnels d’horizons pluridisciplinaires.

She is a member of the Advisory Board of the African Journal of Legal Issues in Technology, a flagship Journal of the Tech Law Centre at the International University of East Africa, in Uganda

Research Associate

TRICIA GOVINDASAMY est une scientifique sud-africaine primée, spécialisée dans la science des données. Elle a huit ans d’expérience dans le domaine des technologies civiques en Afrique, où elle gère des projets transfrontaliers de journalisme de données et de données ouvertes.

Tricia's previous role was managing Code for Africa's DataLab which supports data journalism projects by sourcing data, cleaning and analysing it, and designing novel data visualisation techniques. She was also a coordinator for Africa's largest network of female data scientists, journalists and technologists, WanaData, and she created content and trained data literacy as part of academy.AFRICA, one of the continent's largest digital journalism skills initiatives. Tricia is currently a full-time master's student at the University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdom studying Data Science for Politics and Policymaking."

PLANTINA TSHOLOFELO MOKONE est une spécialiste chevronnée des politiques publiques, de la réglementation et de l’engagement des parties prenantes, qui s’intéresse vivement à l’élaboration des politiques, à l’engagement des parties prenantes et à la politique sud-africaine. Elle est titulaire d’une maîtrise en politique publique de l’Université de Witwatersrand en Afrique du Sud. Plantina est compétente en matière d’analyse et de suivi de l’environnement, elle a fait ses preuves en matière de gestion proactive des parties prenantes, en les tenant informées des évolutions réglementaires et en leur fournissant des conseils stratégiques pertinents.

FREEDMORE SIDUME is currently serving as a Data Science Lecturer at Botswana Accountancy College.

Freedmore Sidume is a proficient software engineer and data scientist with a pronounced passion for harnessing AI for societal betterment. He is part of an esteemed team of expert writers selected by the African Union High-Level Panel on Emerging Technologies (APET) to develop an African continental strategy on artificial intelligence (AI).

Freedmore's research interests are deeply rooted in responsible AI, AI for social good, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) tailored for low-resourced languages. Through collaborative research, his recent publications include "MasakhaNEWS: News Topic Classification for African languages," , "Data wrangling for virtual attendance: A conceptual model and "Classification model for student performance amelioration,".

Junior Research Associate

BOTLHE LUCAS est un ingénieur en systèmes informatiques accompli, titulaire d’une licence en ingénierie des systèmes informatiques de l’université de Sunderland. Elle est actuellement chargée de cours sur le développement au Botswana Accountancy College, où elle joue un rôle essentiel dans l’éducation et l’inspiration des futurs leaders technologiques. En tant que marraine du club Women in Technology, Mme Botlhe milite avec passion pour une plus grande représentation des femmes dans les domaines des STIM, incarnant un engagement en faveur de la diversité et de l’inclusion dans l’industrie technologique.

During their final year of the BSc program, Botlhe published a paper titled "An Analytical Review of Published Face Recognition Research Aimed at Improving Accuracy in Identification," showcasing their expertise and dedication to technological advancement. Botlhe is currently pursuing an MSc in Advanced Computer Science at Leicester University, driven by their passion for artificial intelligence(AI) and predictive analysis, which excites them with its potential to foresee the future through data and technology.

Project implementation zone

South Africa, Namibia, Botswana

About DepHUB 

The Data Economy Policy Hub (DepHUB) is the first independent think-tank founded by an indigenous African woman in South Africa. 

The main objectives of the DepHUB are to undertake rigorous public policy-oriented research and contribute to formulating evidence-based, forward-looking policies that leverage the multidimensional aspects of data and responsible AI for inclusive sustainable development (AI4SD) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). 

DepHUB offers rigorous market research, public policy analysis, technical capacity building, and advisory services on the data-driven digital economy in SSA. 

The DepHUB is a registered non-profit organization based in Johannesburg, South Africa, with a pan-African footprint. The DepHUB is a founding partner of the South African AI Association (SAAIA) and a member of the Digital for Development (D4D) Hub Civil Society & Academia Advisory Group (CSAAG).