Nigeria moves to join global superpowers in AI development, regulation

Nigeria moves to join global superpowers in AI development, regulation

The Minister of Communications, Innovations, and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani, has said that all the government’s efforts in Artificial Intelligence (AI) are geared towards positioning the country as one of the global leaders in the development and regulation of the technology.

The Minister stated this on Monday at the opening ceremony of a workshop on the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy in Abuja. According to him, it has become imperative for Nigeria to be an active participant, considering that there will soon be global convergence on the ways AI is developed and deployed by global powers.

The four-day workshop themed: “Developing the High-Level Strategy and Implementation Plan for a National AI Strategy for Nigeria”, brings together over 120 AI experts and researchers to develop AI strategy for the country.

The AI reality

While noting that AI technology has become a reality in Asia, America, and Europe, Tijani said Nigeria and Africa cannot afford to be left behind.

“The US, UK, and Asia have inputs on how AI is developed and regulated. Right now, there are lots of silos regarding the ways and manners AI is developed and applied.
“And in a short while, there will be a convergence on AI systems, so Nigeria should be part of that global superpower in the development and regulations of AI.
“AI is going to change the narratives in all areas of human endeavors, and we are here to develop a strategic roadmap that will enhance our knowledge, skills, participation, development, and deployment.
“Any technology that has the potential of a watchdog on how we think and what we do, our goals should not be restricted to what we get as a nation but what it will mean to humanity as a whole,” the Minister stated.

Expected resolutions

Tijani said the workshop is expected to come up with far-reaching and deep resolutions and strategies on the way forward for the adoption and deployment of AI in Nigeria.

He said the workshop approach was fundamental because it would help the country to use its diversity and expertise to create an inclusive strategy and also reflect the nation’s consensus.

Earlier, Kashifu Abdullahi, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), said AI would help diversify the nation’s economy.

“AI is beyond just looking at it as a technology but a transformational technology that we can apply across sectors to boost the economy.
“If we get it right, it will help us to achieve a lot as a nation. We can use AI to develop economic diversification strategies in Nigeria and Africa. So, we can design our economy diversification strategy with AI in mind.

The workshop was organized by the ministry in collaboration with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC). Others were the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), Galaxy Backbone, (GBB), Google and other Development Partners.

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