Let African Governments Give “clear policies”, Regulate Artificial Intelligence: Priest on World Communications Day 2024

Fr. Andrew Kaufa. Credit: Archdiocese of Nairobi (ADN)

Governments in Africa need to put in place some “clear policies” that can regulate Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the continent, a Catholic Priest has said.

In an interview with ACI Africa on the sidelines of the celebration of the 58th World Day of Social Communications Day (WCD) 2024, which Catholic media entities in the Archdiocese of Nairobi (ADN) organized, Fr. Andrew Kaufa weighed in on AI that characterizes Pope Francis’ Message for the annual event marked on the Sunday before Pentecost during which the Church celebrates the achievements of the communications media and how they can be engaged to promote gospel values.

In his message released under the title, “Artificial Intelligence and the Wisdom of the Heart: Towards a Fully Human Communication”, the Holy Father reinforces his call for “ethical reflection” and “open dialogue on the meaning of these new technologies” that he had expressed earlier in his Message for the 57th World Day of Peace 2024.

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On the opportunity and danger of AI, Pope Francis urges the international community “to work together to adopt a binding international treaty that regulates the development and use of artificial intelligence in its many forms”.


In the May 12 interview, Fr. Kaufa said, “Governments in Africa have a greater responsibility of coming up with clear policies on ICT (information and communications technology) to make sure that every citizen is protected.”

The Coordinator of the Department of Social Communications of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) said that though the technology has a lot of potential, “there are also many dangers especially when the technology can tap from the algorithm of a person and do things in the name of that person.”

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He went on to laud the Kenyan government for taking the issue of ICT seriously and challenged African nations to formulate “a clear legal frame in dealing with AI issues.”

“Our friends in Europe have already come up with a legal framework, but in Africa, very few countries have that legal framework,” the Nairobi-based Malawian member of the Montfort Missionaries (SMM) said, adding, “There is a need for this legal framework to protect the privacy of every human being.”

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Such policies and regulations would go a long way in fostering and safeguarding human dignity, he further said.

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Fr. Kaufa went on to caution against overdependence on digitality, saying, “People need not to depend on these technologies so much; technology must be at the service of humanity, not humanity at the service of technology.”

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“People are posing themselves like they are subjects to technology in such a way that technology is doing everything for them; that is wrong,” the SMM member, who was among members Pope Francis appointed as Consulters to the Vatican Dicastery of Communications in September 2022 lamented. 


He urged Catholic media content producers to be vigilant while engaging AI and cautioned them against disinformation. “We as communicators who are responsible for content production; we have to take our responsibility seriously,” Fr. Kaufa said during the May 12 interview at Our Lady of Assumption Umoja Parish of ADN, the venue of this year’s WCD celebrations for Catholic media entities in the Kenyan Metropolitan See.

Also speaking to ACI Africa, Patricia Mwende Kilonzo, a parishioner at the Kenyan Catholic Parish said that parents and guardians have a responsibility to regulate social media content for their respective children. 

Patricia Mwende Kilonzo, a parishioner at Our Lady of Assumption Umoja Parish. Credit: ACI Africa

“As mothers, we should support our children; we should make sure they watch the right content whether in the house or outside the house,” Mrs. Kilonzo said, adding, “This will enable us to control what they watch on social media. We should also make sure that what they post on social media is positive.”

AI, the member of the Catholic Women Association (CWA) in the ADN said, “is a new model in the market and as much as we are going to rely on it, we also have our intellectual property that we should safeguard.”

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Mrs. Kilonzo emphasized the need for people to put into practice their natural intellectual faculties rather than “over-rely” on AI. 

On her part, Edna Nzau Chege urged mothers to be at the forefront of filtering media content for their children.

Mrs. Edna Nzau Chege (right). Credit: ACI Africa

“We should be very observant of the content they are watching because even some of the cartoons we think are safe with our children might not be giving them the right moral values; even if they are providing entertainment, they may be corrupt,” Mrs. Chege said.

The CWA member added in reference to children, “Even, if possible, we should avoid giving them gadgets. But because in today’s society, there is that concept of not being left behind, let parents now take the responsibility of teaching children what is right, guide them on what to watch on YouTube and other social media platforms.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.