Artificial Intelligence and Start-Ups in Low- and Middle-Income Countries – Key insights and findings

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The Landscape

In 2020, the GSMA mapped 450 start-ups by sector in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and South Asia and Southeast Asia. In this video, we highlight some of the key findings on the landscape of Artificial Intelligence (AI) start-ups in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and provide insight into how AI can drive social good and contribute significantly to the UN SDGs.

Our full report goes further to explain how common capabilities such as deep learning and computer vision benefit sectors such as business intelligence and analytics, food and agriculture and healthcare.


Ethics and barriers

AI enables new technologies that improve efficiency and productivity, but it may also lead to increased inequalities. There are many ethical questions about data protection, ingrained bias because of poor data collection methods, social inclusion and the responsible use of AI. In this video, we highlight some of the ethical principles that are fundamental for developing successful AI solutions. We also take a look at other barriers to take into consideration when implementing AI solutions, including the availability, accessibility and quality of data, digital inclusion and infrastructure.


Business models

In this video, we explore the common business models for AI start-ups in low- and middle-income countries. To understand the common business models for AI solutions, we examined three vital factors: Approach to monetisation, target consumer segments and regulatory and industry outlook.


You can read our full report, which delves into each of these areas in detail and provides further insights.

Read the full report

For more information take a look at the GSMA’s AI ethics principles. Emerging AI principles and guidelines such as the OECD AI Principles and the EU High-Level Expert Group Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence can also provide guidance for both private and public actors to develop and deploy AI systems in a way that respects human rights and promotes trust. 


The GSMA Mobile for Development (M4D) Central Insights Unit is an initiative supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the GSMA and its members.

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