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Harnessing Emerging Technologies in International Diplomacy

Updated: Jul 11

Emerging technologies have become essential tools for addressing complex challenges, in the context of international diplomacy in Africa, these technologies offer immense potential to drive progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

AI diplomacy involves the impact of AI on geopolitics, with advanced AI capabilities granting countries greater power, and it encompasses the inclusion of AI as a diplomatic topic and practical tool for decision-making, negotiation support, and trend analysis in international


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala sees

“a central role for science”

in meeting the challenges of our future — so long as innovation is backed by social science and sound public policy. “In other words, we need innovation. But we also need access, equity, diffusion — we need to get the science right, and we need to get the domestic and international policy frameworks, the incentive structures, and the public and private investments right too,” she said.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning

AI and machine learning have the power to accelerate progress across various SDGs in Africa. Through data analysis and predictive modeling, these technologies can support decision-making processes, enabling diplomats to design effective policies and interventions.

As large language models improve, AI will be able to search and summarize information more quickly than a team of humans, better preparing diplomats to enter negotiations.

For instance, AI can improve healthcare systems, advance SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being), and optimize resource allocation to address public health challenges on the continent but will that ability to analyze tons of data be able to effectivelely inform a policy that will enble access to affordable healthcare? or will it cause economic and social division?

Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology offers solutions to key challenges related to transparency, accountability, and inclusivity—integral components of the SDGs. By leveraging blockchain, African nations can enhance financial systems, facilitate secure transactions, and combat corruption, thus promoting SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions). Blockchain-based land registries can also support SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) by ensuring secure property rights and enabling efficient urban planning.

Furthermore, blockchain can foster responsible supply chains, advancing SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), by promoting transparency and traceability. Blockchain can be employed to create transparent and tamper-proof systems for managing public finances, ensuring that funds allocated for development projects are used efficiently. By implementing blockchain-based financial systems, the enhancement of accountability, minimize corruption, and foster trust among citizens, thereby advancing SDG 16.

Virtual Diplomacy

Virtual diplomacy, facilitated by technological advancements, aligns with several SDGs. By reducing the need for physical travel, virtual meetings contribute to SDG 13 (Climate Action) by reducing carbon emissions.

Additionally, virtual platforms enable enhanced collaboration and knowledge-sharing, supporting SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals) by fostering global cooperation and facilitating dialogue among stakeholders. Virtual diplomacy also promotes inclusivity (SDG 10) by providing equal opportunities for participation, irrespective of geographical location, thereby amplifying the voices of marginalized communities.

Cybersecurity and Digital Diplomacy

With the rise in digitalization, cybersecurity and digital diplomacy play critical roles in advancing the SDGs. Protecting digital infrastructure and securing sensitive diplomatic communications contribute to SDG 16, as a stable and secure cyberspace is essential for fostering peace and stability. Moreover, digital diplomacy efforts that leverage social media and online platforms can raise awareness about the SDGs, promote citizen engagement, and encourage collective action to achieve the goals. This aligns with SDG 17, emphasizing the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships and leveraging technology for sustainable development.

Digital diplomacy initiatives can leverage social media platforms and online campaigns to raise awareness about the SDGs and foster partnerships for sustainable development. African diplomats can engage with citizens, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders through digital channels, promoting collaboration and collective action to achieve the SDGs, in alignment with SDG 17.

Big Data Analytics

Big data analytics can significantly contribute to the achievement of the SDGs in Africa. By harnessing large-scale data, diplomats can gain insights into societal challenges and identify trends, enabling evidence-based decision-making aligned with the SDGs. For instance, analyzing transportation data can inform infrastructure development, supporting SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure), while data-driven insights on poverty and inequality can guide targeted interventions to address SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 10.

These scenarios highlight the practical applications of emerging technologies, demonstrating how they can be harnessed to advance the SDGs within the realm of international diplomacy in Africa.


The adoption of emerging technologies in international diplomacy in Africa presents a unique opportunity to align efforts with the SDGs and drive sustainable development. By leveraging AI, blockchain, virtual diplomacy, cybersecurity, and big data analytics, African countries can enhance diplomatic capabilities, foster collaboration, and address complex challenges more effectively.

The AI Review understands the importance of knowledge building in understanding the role of emerging technologies in Diplomacy and that is why we are excited about the partnership with South South Model United Nations, In Organizing the South South Model United Summit, with the the theme: Fostering the SDGS. Taking place live in Nigeria and Virtual (Online) under Her Diversity and Inclusion Campaign tagged The Women in AI. It is important to note that the potential applications of emerging technologies are vast, with numerous opportunities for innovation and positive impact across multiple SDGs in Africa.

To fully harness the potential of these technologies, it is crucial to prioritize ethical considerations, build robust frameworks, and promote capacity-building initiatives. By embracing these transformative technologies, Africa can lead the way in shaping a future that is prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable, driving progress towards the SDGs and leaving no one behind.

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