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Using artificial intelligence to combat COVID-19 in Senegal and Mali

Countries in the South generally use control measures and predictive models of COVID-19’s evolution that are imported from the North. However, these approaches use artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and/or data science (contact tracing applications, patient triage) without ensuring their adaptability to local social and cultural contexts. In Senegal and Mali, these technologies raise ethical and legal issues because they can neglect socio-political, economic, and cultural vulnerabilities and they have not been previously considered in local ethical dimensions.

This research proposes COVID-19 epidemiological modeling based on the socio-anthropological context in Senegal and Mali. It also addresses the question of the adaptability and social acceptability of AI technologies and health control measures while respecting ethics and human rights. This multidisciplinary research, proposed by a consortium led by Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal, aims to strengthen the capacities and awareness of governments and civil society in Africa to help improve their effectiveness in their fight against pandemics. The intention is to mobilize data science and AI that are ethical, responsible, and adapted to African socio-cultural contexts and that integrate considerations for gender and vulnerable groups.

This work will be carried out as part of the COVID-19 Global South Artificial Intelligence and Data Innovation Program, funded by IDRC and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Project ID
Project Status
24 months
IDRC Officer
Matthew Smith
Total Funding
CA$ 1,269,600.00
Education and Science
COVID-19 Global South AI and Data Innovation Program
Institution Country
Project Leader
Sylvain Faye
Université Cheikh Anta Diop