Expression of Interest (EOI) - Draft

1. Vision

To provide a platform for cooperation and to leverage the collective strengths, insights, knowledge and thought leadership of multiple stakeholders to collaborate and realise the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI), mitigate risks, develop inclusive products, services and solutions, advice policy, regulation and standards and generate prosperity for all citizens.

2. Preamble

Context: In alignment with initiatives enabling AI internationally, this EoI is led by academia, private sector and civil society. There are several such initiatives at the global level (examples include, Allen Institute for AI, Advanced Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Nordic AI Artificial Intelligence Institute). In similar strive, this EoI seeks to signify South Africa’s contribution to the regional and international community, to establish mutual and strategic relationships. The EoI has the aspiration to bring forward the benefits of AI within the context of South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

Convergence Partners, Accenture, University of Johannesburg, Digital Council Africa and Sun & Shield Technologies have collaborated to drive an initiative to form appropriate structure and platform of representative groups comprising of key sectors involved in the development of AI in South Africa including, but not limited to, Academia & Research, Business Communities, Civil Society, Human Rights Activists, Non-Profits Organisations, Labour, Startups & SMMEs, Legal Fraternity, Woman & Youth and Government.

Among others, this transdisciplinary initiative intends to:


Start a dialogue, consult widely and engage Stakeholders, identify gaps and potential solutions in respect of AI in the South African context.


Develop AI public-private collaboration framework within appropriate bounds to guide initiatives going forward.


Craft an inclusive human-centered context-based AI strategy to benefit South African society;


Assist the South African National Data Strategy by allowing for discussions around the protection of privacy, promotion of data security and open data-enabled innovation;


Provide a platform directing interested persons to information regarding the safeguarding of the rights and well-being of all South Africans as South Africa balances citizens’ digital rights and freedom of application developers to innovate;


Build and develop a resilient AI ecosystem, at the national, provincial and local level.


Encourage the sharing of leading practices among the Al ecosystems of the Participants.


Promote ethical governance frameworks for the trusted, safe, and responsible development and use of Al technologies;


Promote positive outcomes related to work and education.


Support the use of AI technologies for the benefit of the differently abled people.


Support the use of AI technologies to assist in protecting the Human Rights of all South Africans.


Work towards using AI to take South Africa forward on its own unique digital journey.

3. Disclaimer

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary set forth in this EOI, this Expression of Interest is not intended to create, and does not create, legally enforceable rights and obligations for the parties. Any legal or appropriate structure to give effect to the initiative will require the parties to conclude a legally binding Memorandum of Agreement in the future

4. Purpose


This EOI has been developed to guide stakeholder dialogue, consultation and engagement for the purpose of constituting a consortium/structure to promote and advocate for the establishment of a responsible Artificial Intelligence (‘AI’) ecosystem in South Africa.


The aforementioned consortium/structure intends to constitute a stakeholder-led and government-supported AI Institute of South Africa.


The AI Institute of South Africa will be responsible for, but not limited to,


Convene annual AI symposium for all stakeholders.


Assume the role of AI community advocacy and government advisory to advice policy direction.


Establish work streams in accordance with available expertise: health, education, mining, automotive and others.


Represent South Africa (“SA”) in Global AI forums and initiatives.


Engage in bilateral and/or multilateral knowledge transfer with other AI global institutes.


Conduct awareness master class seminars for labour, and society at large


Identify partner countries for knowledge and technology transfer and sharing best practices.


Collaborate with similar organisations globally like AI4People, Partnership on AI, Atomium European Institute, Global Partners Digital, Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) and more


The aforementioned consortium/structure intends to establish a private sector-led AI Development Fund to


Fund AI start-ups, incubators and accelerators.


Support the export of local AI initiatives, products, services and solutions.


Establish AI marketplace for AI start-ups


Assembling teams to compete in global AI competitions


The aforementioned consortium/structure intends to establish a private sector-led AI Research Fund to


Provide Grant for Academia, Research & Development (R&D).


Develop AI School curriculum for early introduction in school


The collaboration of the participants may be in the form of, but not limited to,


Sharing of expertise related to Al, ethics and governance issues across the ecosystem;


Exchanging of information on matters relating to AI opportunities, funding, best practices, policies, laws, and regulations;


Organising joint seminars, trainings, symposia, conferences and workshops;


Organising business development, technology partnering initiatives, and business opportunities;


Developing collaborative research and development initiatives;


Sharing information to promote the development of AI in South Africa;


Thought leadership between stakeholders: researchers, academics, policymakers, non-government organisations, business professionals, students, and technical experts;

5. Commencement, Duration and Termination


The EOI is voluntary and will come into effect on the date it has been signed by Participants and remains in effect unless either Participant notifies other Participants, in writing, of their intention to cease being a part of the initiative.


This EOI shall become effective upon signature by the participants and will remain in effect until modified or terminated by participants by mutual consent