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AI and education: “Morocco is not the country to miss out”.  Interview with Dr Abdelilah Kadili.

Dr Abdelilah Kadili

Founder of the TAMKINE Foundation for Excellence and Creativity and its President, Dr. Kadili has held senior positions in the Moroccan public administration including Director of Administrative Reforms, Deputy Director of the Royal Archives and Central Director of the Ministry of Housing; teaching activities both in Morocco and in the USA; Vice President of American companies; Lawyer, Director of Peacebuilding and the Rule of Law of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights, an international organization based in Washington DC; and President of an international organization active in the field of human rights.

Dr. Kadili has focused particularly on the democratic transition, development, and emergence of African countries, where he continues to provide consulting and assistance to leaders of several countries. The President of the Tamkine Foundation holds several pre- and post-doctoral degrees including those from Moroccan faculties and schools, and from business and law schools in the United States of America.


1 – Dr Kadili, can you give us anover view of the artificial intelligence ecosystem in Morocco? How is the Kingdom willing to position itself in the so-called international race for AI?


AI has gone viral all over the world, and Morocco is not the country to miss out on this transformative wave. We are witnessing a global recognition of the immense potential that AI holds, and in response, Morocco is actively shaping its artificial intelligence ecosystem. The Kingdom understands the significance of investing in education, research, and fostering industry collaborations to cultivate a highly skilled workforce, preparing for a future that will most definitely be marked by AI.

In our pursuit to harness the benefits of AI, we are strategically aligning with international advancements, ensuring that Morocco contributes significantly to the global AI landscape. This approach involves the establishment of robust public-private partnerships, creating a supportive regulatory environment, and, most importantly, maintaining a steadfast commitment to ethical considerations. By doing so, we are not only positioning ourselves as a responsible player in the international AI community but also ensuring a competitive presence on the global stage.

This strategic outlook underscores our commitment to not merely adapt to the AI revolution but to actively shape its trajectory, putting Morocco at the forefront of this technological evolution.


2 – It is clear that Morocco is willing to become a leader in the field of AI on the African continent. According to you, what may be the best strategy to play such a role? What are the assets of the Kingdom to become a leader in AI?


When there is a will, there is a way, and Morocco is definitely willing to pave its own way and is resolute in its commitment to becoming a leader in the field of AI on the African continent. To play such a role effectively, Morocco’s strategy is multifaceted and begins with establishing a common understanding of how AI works. We recognize that the success of AI innovation is intricately tied to dispelling misunderstandings that may cause resistance to its adoption.

Also central to its approach is leveraging the Kingdom's assets. Morocco boasts a burgeoning talent pool, a valuable asset that we are keen on nurturing. This strategy places a strong emphasis on education and skill development. Through targeted programs, its workforce with the expertise needed to drive AI innovation is being empowered. This investment in human capital is pivotal to positioning Morocco as a hub for AI innovation in Africa. Furthermore, the country’s strategy emphasizes the crucial role of collaboration between industry and academia. By fostering partnerships, we create a conducive environment for research and development. This collaborative approach ensures that the insights from academia are translated into real-world applications, fostering a dynamic ecosystem where ideas flourish into tangible advancements.

Last, but not least, Morocco’s strategy is eminently rooted to a profound commitment to ethical AI. By prioritizing ethics, we aim to set a standard for responsible AI development and deployment, fostering trust among stakeholders. With these assets and a steadfast dedication to innovation, Morocco is poised to lead the way in AI development and application on the African continent.


3 – Dr Kadili, you are personally strongly involved in education. Can you share your vision on the way AI and education can be articulated both in Morocco and beyond?


In my vision for education, AI holds a pivotal role in shaping the future, not just in Morocco but beyond. I firmly believe that before we can fully embrace the potential of AI, we must establish a right and common comprehension of this transformative technology. It is akin to laying a strong foundation to build upon. To achieve this, my approach involves dividing AI notions to conquer them. This means breaking down complex concepts into understandable components. This is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor; it's a comprehensive effort that spans the entire spectrum of stakeholders. Starting from students at an early age, extending to teachers, parents, institutions and so on—each is a vital variable in what we call the Tamkine equation for qualitative improvement of education.

By instilling a common and ethical understanding of AI across all these stakeholders, the independent variables of the equation, we pave the way for seamless integration into our educational framework. Targeted education initiatives become the catalyst, ensuring that students are not just users but informed creators of AI. Teachers become facilitators of knowledge, equipped to guide the younger generation in navigating the ethical considerations that come with this technology. Parents play a crucial role as partners in this educational journey, understanding AI's impact on their children's learning experiences. Institutions, too, adapt to incorporate AI asa tool for innovation and improvement. In essence, my vision is to create a harmonious and informed ecosystem where AI becomes an integral part of education, preparing the younger generation for a future where technological literacy is paramount. This comprehensive approach, grounded in a shared comprehension and ethical considerations, ensures that AI becomes a force for positive change, propelling education forward both in Morocco and on the global stage.


4 – How do you think AI can empower the youngest and other people to enter the international market? What advice would you provide them to make the best of AI?


Embracing AI is not just about adopting cutting-edge technology; it's about cultivating a mindset that aligns with ethical and responsible practices. To make the best of AI, my advice to the younger generation is to first and foremost, focus on acquiring relevant skills and on staying updated with technological advancements. AI evolves rapidly, and being informed about the latest trends and innovations ensures that you are well-prepared to navigate the global market. This proactive approach positions the younger generation not just as consumers of technology but as contributors and innovators.

I also advocate for a mindset of continuous learning. In a world where technology shapes industries, adaptability is key. Embrace change, be curious, and approach challenges with a willingness to learn and grow. This mindset not only enhances personal development but also fosters resilience in the face of evolving technological landscapes. Mentorship programs are invaluable in this journey. Seek guidance from experienced professionals who can provide insights and advice based on their own experiences. Industry collaborations offer opportunities to gain practical exposure, apply knowledge, and build networks that extend beyond borders.

I highly encourage leveraging AI for entrepreneurial endeavors as well. The global stage is ripe with opportunities, and AI can be a powerful tool for innovation. Whether it's developing new products, optimizing processes, or creating solutions to address pressing challenges, AI can be a catalyst for entrepreneurial success.


5 – There is currently a hype onGenerative AI. How do you see the impact of these technologies in education?How is Morocco dealing with generative AI?


In light of the current hype surrounding GenerativeAI, I’d say that this technology, if used responsibly, has the capacity to significantly transform the educational landscape. However, it's crucial to approach Generative AI with a cautious yet forward-looking perspective, placing a strong emphasis on ethical considerations and responsible use.

Morocco is actively incorporating Generative AI into our educational framework, but with a commitment to ethical guidelines. We recognize the importance of fostering creativity and innovation among students while ensuring that the use of Generative AI aligns with our values of responsibility and integrity. In the integration of Generative AI, we emphasize the importance of critical thinking. While this technology offers innovative solutions, it is paramount for students to approach generated content with discernment. Encouraging a mindset of critical evaluation ensures that learners don't blindly accept generated answers but rather engage in thoughtful analysis.

Our educational approach underscores the need for students to use Generative AI as a tool for learning and exploration, all while honing their critical thinking skills. By combining responsible use, ethical considerations, and a commitment to nurturing critical thinking, we aim to maximize the positive impact of Generative AI in shaping the future of education in Morocco.


Further readings

Abdelilah Kadili. Que l'excellence devienne la règle, et non l'exception ! L’, 14 mars 2022.

MohamedAli Habouha et al.. “Tamkine equation for the qualitative improvement of education”. African engineering education forum 2023., 2023.

Samia Qbaibi. Unlocking the Future of Education in Morocco: How AI Could Revolutionize Learning. Morocco World News, July 26,2023.

UNESCO. Category 2 Institutes and Centres, proposals for designation, Part II: Moroccan International Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI Movement), Morocco. Executive Board, 217th, 2023[552], 8 September 2023.

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