Ministers, CEOs Call for Adoption of AI to Boost Small Businesses

The CEO’s Africa Roundtable began with lively discussions aimed at unlocking Africa’s full potential and eliminating poverty by utilizing the continent’s vast natural resources. The sessions featured speeches from the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mangaliso Ndlovu; the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal, and Courier Services, Tatenda Mavetera; and the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Prof Walter Murwira. CEOs also contributed ideas and critiques to strengthen public-private partnerships in pursuit of Vision 2030.

There was broad agreement that, despite possessing two-thirds of the world’s natural resources, Africa remains impoverished. Participants identified the failure to add value to resources and innovate as key reasons for the continent’s continued inefficient production methods.

Although there were concerns about Artificial Intelligence (AI) potentially surpassing human control, participants agreed on the necessity of leveraging AI for Africa’s growth. They emphasized the importance of maintaining human oversight and ethical control over the technology.

CEOs highlighted the need for a balanced mix of skills among boards of directors and executives of parastatals, combining the wisdom and experience of seasoned professionals with the innovation and energy of younger members. Zimbabwe has made significant progress in this area, with the Corporate Governance Unit fostering a refreshing corporate governance environment. Additionally, the establishment of the Mutapa Investment Fund (MIF) to oversee 66 state-owned companies and parastatals aims to ensure they operate independently according to market principles.

Focusing on AI, parastatals, and small businesses is seen as crucial for growth. Zimbabwe has excelled in these areas, particularly in efforts to grow the informal economy. The MIF is revitalizing and innovating the 66 companies under its supervision to make them viable and relevant, in line with the goals of Vision 2030.

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