The government of Kenya plans to use artificial intelligence (AI) to assess eligibility of applications within its affordable housing scheme.
According to a policy document, officials will use data sourced from the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB), including mobile wallet transaction history, to rate the credit worthiness of each applicant.
The policy reads in part: "In principle the scoring will provide credit assessments that are driven by data analytics. This means that the credit and risk decision-making is fully automated; the system will be able to run 'thin file assessments' for those with little to no conventional transaction histories; and the level of Artificial Intelligence integrations being deployed reduce the time taken on each assessment - providing a credit profile of each applicant in much less time than is conventionally accepted."
In February 2018 Kenya's ICT Ministry confirmed that an AI and blockchain taskforce had been established to explore potential local use cases.
The taskforce is yet to present a progress report to officials.
According to Microsoft, the application of AI in government and private sector could greatly improve Africa's economy.
Microsoft's White Paper AI for Africa states that "Governments can embrace these challenges and benefit from AI by creating clear roadmaps to guide the adoption of this technology. They should recalibrate their laws and legal frameworks to support data-driven technologies and innovation-driven growth; strengthen the supporting infrastructure for development; and set the tone of a collaborative approach that allows all stakeholders to share their expertise, insights, and build trust."
Winnie Karanu, Business Development and Program Manager at Microsoft, said fostering these skills within the private and public sectors could be a transformational move for the economies in Africa.
"Success of implementation will depend on the ability of governments to foster collaboration among all stakeholders - state and civil society, academia, industry, and national and international stakeholders. If all parties embrace the challenges of AI, Kenya will reap the benefits of a vibrant AI ecosystem," said Karanu.