African CEOs are leveraging AI to accelerate customer experiences

By our News Team | 2023

Top execs want to use advanced forms of AI and analytics for better customer service and improve productivity. But it’s not plain sailing.

A study by the IBM Institute for Business Value has found that African CEOs identify customer experience as their highest business priority. 

Their next highest priorities are better productivity and greater profitability to achieve their business goals. 

However, they face barriers to achieving these priorities as they adopt new technologies like generative AI.

Artificial Intelligence

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels

The annual study, entitled ‘CEO decision-making in the age of AI’, found that African CEOs expect to realise significant value from advanced forms of AI and analytics such as:

  • Cloud computing.
  • Automation.
  • Generative AI.
  • Deep learning.
  • Machine learning.
  • Advanced analytics.

However, African organisations face influential external factors hindering their AI readiness over the next three years. Over half (53%) of African CEOs identify technology factors as the most impactful force that could significantly impact their respective AI adoption journeys.

Additionally, regional CEOs cite market factors (51%), regulatory factors (49%) and workforce and skills (33%) as leading external factors that are having the most significant impact on their organisations.

Unclear data calculation and reporting is a risk

African CEOs face several data challenges too, with nearly half of the respondents citing unclear data calculation and reporting across suppliers and partners (48%) and within their organisations (47%) as the most critical risks or barriers.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution has presented Africa with an opportunity to leapfrog various stages of economic development. Consequently, African organisations are leveraging generative AI and emerging innovation models to accelerate innovation, enhance customer experiences, productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability – to name a few,” says Julia Carvalho, General Manager of IBM Africa Growth Markets.

“However, it’s critical that CEOs in Africa establish and implement clear and consistent standards as it concerns the utilisation of AI across all areas of strategic focus … it will determine the level of investment and, ultimately, an organisation’s success in a rapidly advancing digital economy,” adds Carvalho.

Findings include:

  • Over half (54%) of CEOs surveyed pinpoint customer experience as a top priority for their organisation.
  • CEOs surveyed say technology factors remain the top external force impacting their organisation over the next three years.
  • CEOs in Africa are increasingly looking toward operational, technology and data leaders as strategic decision-makers.

You can download the full global report, entitled ‘CEO decision-making in the age of AI’, here.

Dr Kin Kariisa

Group CEO - Next Media

Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

  • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
  • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
  • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
  • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.