McKinsey & Company today announced the expansion of QuantumBlack, AI by McKinsey, to its offices in Johannesburg, Casablanca, Lagos, and Cairo and to serve as hubs for its global QuantumBlack network.
While McKinsey has always served clients in Africa on data and analytics, QuantumBlack has been an accelerating force for McKinsey, blending powerful AI and technology with deep strategic thinking and domain expertise to help clients unlock substantial growth. McKinsey acquired QuantumBlack, a London-based company with roots in Formula 1 motor racing, in 2015.
“The breakneck pace at which AI is changing and evolving is challenging investors and business leaders to understand the AI ecosystem and its impact on their businesses. In addition, generative AI is giving rise to an entire ecosystem of its own,” says Alexander Sukharevsky, a senior partner and the global leader of QuantumBlack, AI by McKinsey.
“Our 1,300+ strong team of practitioners, specializing in data science, data engineering, design, and industry expertise, plays an important role in helping our clients in Africa understand AI and its possibilities and implement it at scale to achieve sustainable impact.”
McKinsey research estimates that AI could contribute about $13 trillion of incremental global economic impact by 2030, with AI likely contributing about 9 percent to Africa’s GDP by 2030. If delivered, this impact would compare well with that of other general-purpose technologies throughout history.
Globally, there has been an exciting increase in investment in AI over the past four years. According to executives surveyed in McKinsey’s State of AI report, over 50 percent of organizations spent more than five percent of their budget on AI in the last year, a 12 percent increase on 2018 figures. Sixty-three percent of organizations also said they would increase investment in AI over the next three years.
“Our methodology of hybrid intelligence combines the power of data to unearth insights that work hand-in-hand with creativity, empathy, and experience,” says Umar Bagus, partner and leader of McKinsey’s Digital and Analytics practice in Africa.
“Africa has not been left behind either. We have seen steady progress in AI adoption in our work with many leading African healthcare institutions, banks, insurers, retailers, mining, and chemical organizations. However, to catch up with AI high performers, more investment and faster acceleration is needed.”
The survey shows that 57 percent of respondents in emerging economies, including Africa, reported adoption, up from 45 percent in 2020. The talent crunch remains one of the biggest barriers across geographies. About 60 percent of emerging market respondents highlighted that attracting tech talent such as software engineers, data scientists, and designers remains a top challenge, with about 40 percent finding it even more difficult now than three years ago. Reskilling is now also a common alternative to hiring, with more than 40 percent of emerging market responders saying they are reskilling as a way of gaining more AI talent.
“There is enough momentum for African institutions to leapfrog and transcend limitations and challenges while delivering real-world impact for Africa’s people, investors, and the environment. We are proud to be here in Africa to help accelerate the impact AI has on the continent,” says Sukharevsky.