The Download: Africa’s AI regulation push, and how to fight denge

In Tanzania, farmers are using an AI-assisted app that works in their native language of Swahili to detect a devastating cassava disease before it spreads. In South Africa, computer scientists have built machine learning models to analyze the impact of racial segregation in housing. And in Nairobi, Kenya, AI classifies images from thousands of surveillance cameras perched on lampposts in the bustling city’s center.

The projected benefit of AI adoption on Africa’s economy is tantalizing. Estimates suggest that four African countries alone—Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa—could rake in up to $136 billion worth of economic benefits by 2030 if businesses there begin using more AI tools.

Now, the African Union—made up of 55 member nations—is preparing an ambitious AI policy that envisions an Africa-centric path for the development and regulation of this emerging technology. But debates on when AI regulation is warranted and concerns about stifling innovation could pose a roadblock, while a lack of AI infrastructure could hold back the technology’s adoption. Read the full story.

—Abdullahi Tsanni

Brazil is fighting dengue with bacteria-infected mosquitos

As dengue cases continue to rise in Brazil, the country is facing a massive public health crisis. The viral disease, spread by mosquitoes, has sickened more than a million Brazilians in 2024 alone, overwhelming hospitals.

The dengue crisis is the result of the collision of two key factors. This year has brought an abundance of wet, warm weather, boosting populations of the mosquitoes that spread dengue. It also happens to be a year when all four types of dengue virus are circulating. Few people have built up immunity against them all.   

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