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AI For Good: Using Data Analytics to Advance Sustainable Development Goals

Updated: Jun 3


Rather than following the path of a traditional commercial enterprise, we see ourselves as a social enterprise that prioritises public health and well-being over purely financial gains. This approach naturally aligns us with several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as Global Goals. These objectives, set in 2015, aim to advance three key areas of sustainable development: economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection, and they are relevant to every country. By weaving relevant SDGs into the fabric of our business strategy, we hope to not only demonstrate our commitment to fostering a healthier world but also to embrace high standards of corporate responsibility in today’s world.


EPCON in Tribune Online


Which SDGs are we emphasising?


Tackling poverty

The “No Poverty” goal, which focuses on reducing the rates of people living with less than $2.15 per day (adjusted for 2017 purchasing power parity), has witnessed progress over the years, but COVID-19 has unfortunately reversed this progress. Should this trend continue, it is projected that by 2030, about 7% of the global population, or roughly 575 million people, could find themselves trapped in devastating poverty. Many of these people are in sub-Saharan Africa. 


Disturbingly, there is a strong link between severity of poverty and burden of disease. We utilise poverty data to identify hotspots for infectious disease. In addition, our AI capacities can assist in identifying access to essential resources in impoverished regions, including electricity, potable water, sanitation, and healthcare services availability. 


Zero hunger

This SDG is a bold commitment to eliminate global malnutrition and food insecurity by 2030. As of 2022, about 735 million people, or 9.2% of the world’s population, were suffering from chronic undernourishment, underscoring the urgency of this mission. The world is back at hunger levels not seen since 2005, partly attributed to persistently high food prices in many countries, exceeding those observed during 2015-2019. Inflation, climate shocks, civil unrest and declining food production have all played a role in causing food scarcity and high food prices. 


Our contribution towards achieving this SDG focuses on identifying vulnerable communities or individuals through our AI predictive analytics, then translating this data into user-friendly spatial maps. These vital insights are then shared with our partners, including local NGOs or other strategic partners. This approach should help target aid and resources more effectively, playing a pivotal role in the fight against hunger. 


Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at every age

This objective aims to halt several lethal infectious disease epidemics, such as AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and other transmissible diseases by 2030. The spread of these illnesses is intensified because a considerable segment of the world’s population is without access to essential healthcare services. 


We are confident that we can contribute to controlling the spread of dangerous diseases through our Epi-control platform. This system employs AI algorithms and data analytics, drawing from a broad spectrum of sources such as public health databases and open source data, to pinpoint current and prospective disease hotspots. Our models have been used to forecast the impact of various disease burdens, including TB, Ebola, leprosy and Lassa fever, to name a few. At times, our aim is to develop predictive models capable of evaluating the risk of disease transmission in areas not yet reached by testing campaigns. This capability allows local NGOs to optimise their resource distribution and screening efforts more effectively. 


Clean water and sanitation

Currently, at least half the world’s population faces severe water scarcity for at least one month each year. This growing water demand stems from rapid population growth, urbanisation, and increased needs in the industrial, energy, and agricultural sectors. Furthermore, with global temperatures on the rise, water scarcity issues are expected to escalate. On a brighter note, progress has been made towards this SDG: from 2015 to 2022, the percentage of the global population with access to safe drinking water improved from 69% to 73%. We use access to clean water and sanitation as key parameters in our platform, visualising this data for our partners at policy level. 


Reducing inequality

Inequality, whether rooted in income, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity, religion, or opportunity significantly hinders growth and development. It fosters social exclusion and constrains the potential of a significant segment of the global population. Astonishingly one in six individuals worldwide has experienced some form of discrimination, with women and people with disabilities being especially vulnerable. Addressing inequality requires equitable resource distribution and the support of marginalised groups, among other measures. 


We are keen to contribute to this goal by pinpointing vulnerable communities. We’ve undertaken such initiatives in Nigeria. By leveraging big data, which includes contextual information like the quality of housing, access to fundamental amenities, night-time illumination, road infrastructure, and the potential risk of natural disasters, we’re equipped to identify at-risk groups. This includes children vulnerable to malnutrition or girls facing challenges in finishing their education. Insights gained from one location can be adjusted and applied on a national scale, helping with focused interventions and the efficient distribution of resources. 


In summary, we have identified five Sustainable Development Goals where we feel our contributions can truly resonate. By using AI and predictive analytics, we aim to tackle these pressing global challenges. Via data-driven insights and strategic partnerships with local providers, we believe we can make a significant impact on creating a healthier, more equitable world. 


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