Research ICT Africa to lead a 100 country Global Index on Responsible AI Assessment

Research ICT Africa
30 Nov 2021

Research ICT Africa in collaboration with Data for Development Network ( and with support from Canada’s International Research Development Centre (IDRC), are set to announce a new Global Index on Responsible AI.

The announcement of this new initiative will take place as a Side Event of the Summit for Democracy 2021. The event will centre around a high-level panel discussion featuring leading voices on AI and Society from around the world and representing a range of key stakeholders.

The announcing event will take place on :

Date:               8th December 2021

Time:               9:00am-10:30am EST

The Global Index on Responsible AI will measure progress toward the responsible use and development of artificial intelligence in over 100 countries around the world from a distinctly human-rights-based perspective. The Global Index will equip governments, civil society, researchers, and other stakeholders with the key evidence needed to uphold responsible use principles in the development and implementation of AI systems, meet development and human rights obligations, build capacity for responsible AI around the world, and deepen international co-operation.

The partners intend to co-create the Global Index with a diverse range of stakeholders in order to ensure its value on the ground. This event will kick start a consultative engagement process, as well as serve as a platform to share further details about the project, the key partners involved, and its expected utility in advancing human rights and democracy in the use and development of AI.

This event will be hosted on the sidelines of the Summit for Democracy, hosted by United States President Joe Biden. The Summit for Democracy represents an important international forum to advance commitments in support of democracy and human rights.

This event will take place in English with simultaneous translation in French and Spanish.

About the Index

In response to the rising concerns around the risks associated with the increasing use and application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in human societies and the distribution of the benefits of these technologies, there is growing consensus that AI must be developed, deployed, and used responsibly. This includes the need to entrench human rights, strengthen democracy and inclusivity, and respond to local socio-economic development. It is therefore imperative to advance the development and application of responsible AI beyond the establishment of ethical principles.

Previous findings from the index, indicate heavy investment by some countries in new industry, innovation, and economic opportunity in the “AI race”, however not all countries have the same safeguards, protections, or even legal frameworks needed to regulate, support and promote the responsible use of AI within existing rights frameworks. Additionally, previous findings indicate that investments in AI do not necessarily translate into responsible AI approaches, as demonstrated in the AI Readiness Index 2020. An ongoing challenge with the Responsible AI sub-index and other global activities is the relative lack of data and perspectives from Low and Middle Income Countries.

As the development of AI continues to rapidly expand, there is an increasingly recognized need for comprehensive, reliable, and independent research to improve our understanding of the challenges facing responsible AI around the world, as well as the conditions required to ensure that AI use and development support human rights, gender equality, and the SDGs. A rights-based Global Index will help to address these needs, while equipping governments, civil society, researchers, and other key stakeholders with the evidence needed to support efforts to uphold responsible use principles in the development and implementation of AI systems, meet development and human rights obligations, build capacity for responsible AI around the world, and deepen international co-operation.

Project Approach

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the AI for Development (AI4D), and the Data for Development Network ( will support Research ICT Africa in the production of the Global Index and build capacity in the international community and among human-rights organizations to advance a rights-based approach to AI development and use.

With oversight from a globally representative and diverse cadre of global experts to ensure the approach is non-partisan, representative, and methodologically rigorous, the Global Index will measure the evolution of commitment and progress on the implementation of responsible AI principles and practices across the world. The scope of the Global Index will cover human rights, gender, diversity, participation, inclusion, capacity building, and sustainability, supported by data collection across over 120 countries.

The project will take place in these three phases:
  1. Design: Starting in the second semester of 2021, the initiative will develop a methodology and index for assessing country-level conditions for the responsible use and development of AI, through a co-creation and consultative process, engaging with global expert forums and LMIC stakeholders. 
  2. Implementation: The new Global Responsible AI Index will be a global flagship publication with the first version to be launched later in 2022. We anticipate that the new Index will use expert surveys with country researchers to provide a comprehensive and context-specific analysis of how governments compare efforts to promote the responsible, human rights-based development and use of AI systems. 
  3. Consolidation: New editions of the Global Responsible AI Index will consolidate its role as a source for governments, researchers, and civil society working together to improve national, subnational, and thematic eco-systems.  

This new effort will build off from past and related work supporting the AI Government Readiness Index, and the Global/Open Data Barometer, and aligned with the establishment of a broader network of AI policy centres and innovation activities in the global South (more at The intended methodology will be developed in close collaboration with efforts for AI evaluation and multilateral collaboration through the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence, G7, G20, and other key global and regional forums. Leveraging these partnerships, the Index will inform the data that is used to support national policies and global dialogues on advancing the responsible and rights-respecting use of AI.

To become part of this exciting journey , click the button below to register