Embrace of AI will help to advance African humanity, says Nomsa Nteleko.
By Johan Steyn, 27 September 2022
In this weekly special feature, Prof Johan Steyn writes about the numerous world-class artificial intelligence (AI) companies originating from SA.
Not many people in SA realise that our beautiful country is home to some of the most exciting AI start-ups in the world. We tend to think that advancement in this powerful technology is exclusive to the Global North.
I meet weekly with visionary business leaders who produce AI-powered solutions. One such leader is Nomsa Nteleko, chief commercial officer at Amathuba AI. Sporting a collective 20 years of experience in the digital business management space, the founders of this Pan African company had the vision to change the lives of people through AI technology.
“We believe Africa is full of opportunities and that African people should fully embrace and take advantage of all of these. More importantly, we want to make these opportunities that may traditionally not have been possible for an African child possible and attainable.”
One can see the light sparkle in Nomsa’s eyes as she tells you about her vision for doing good in Africa by way of technology. Amathuba means “opportunities” in isiZulu.
“We founded this company in 2020 with the intent to advance African culture and humanity through the assimilation of artificial technology. AI is the science of having humans and computers working better together than any group of computers, or group of humans have ever done before.”
Nomsa is a leader of stature and among her many accolades are being among the Mail & Guardian Power Women of 2022, the GCPIT Top 100 Global Women in Leadership Award 2021 and Inspiring Fifty SA 2018.
“We recently conducted a very successful AI implementation with a municipality in KwaZulu-Natal. It was a smart contract management solution, driven by machine learning technology. We discovered that up to 80% of vendor invoices were being paid without any sufficient evidence that the contracted work was satisfactorily completed.
“Our AI solution provided a conversational AI chatbot that provides real-time information on queries, such as the total contracts under review, financial values and expiry dates. The team can now see on one dashboard the total procure-to-pay process.”
I am immensely proud to be associated with Nomsa and her team. Business leaders in SA should do more to support local technology firms.
• Steyn is on the faculty at Woxsen University, a research fellow at Stellenbosch University and the founder of AIforBusiness.net