RIA’s Shamira Ahmed delivered a paper at the International Telecommunications Society (ITS) 23rd Biennial Conference: Digital societies and industrial transformations: Policies, markets, and technologies in a post-Covid world on 21 June 2021.
The ITS is an association of professionals in the information, communications and technology sectors. It provides a forum for academic, private sector, and government communities to meet to identify new problems and issues, share research results, and form new relationships and approaches to address outstanding issues.
The aim of the 23rd Biennial Conference was to examine the impact of new technologies on regulation, existing business models as well as how these may change in the years to come given the rapid technologically driven changes ushered into people’s professional and personal lives as a result of the pandemic.
Ahmed’s paper examined the fintech industry in Africa via four country case studies. Her paper titled, “A gender perspective on the use of artificial intelligence in Africa’s fintech industry: Case studies from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana”, can be downloaded below, as can her presentation slides.
One of the key findings of her study is the dominance of tech bro culture in the African fintech ecosystem obstructing not just women’s participation in the industry, but ultimately also restricting the innovation of financial products aimed at women’s financial inclusion.
Summing up gender disparity across the four countries, Ahmed argues that inequalities are multidimensional in nature, while existing policy efforts to address the systemic dimensions of gender inequality are inadequate.
She concludes that the use of AI in existing African fintech ecosystems is likely to amplify gender biases.
The research for this conference paper was conducted under the auspices of RIA’s AI4D project generously supported by the IDRC and SIDA.