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FG calls for top Nigerian researchers to execute AI strategy

The Federal Government, under the ministry of communications, innovation and digital economy, has called for applications from researchers of Nigerian descent from across the globe to help the country to create its National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy.

Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani, announced this via X (Twitter), urging Nigerians to share details of any top researcher they know.

In the document he shared titled: “Co-creating a National Artificial Intelligence Strategy for Nigeria,” Tijani said the government is building on existing work done by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to develop a National Al Strategy, hence, it is expanding its co-creation approach to engage and include top Al researchers of Nigerian descent globally.

“We are curating a list of the top researchers of Nigerian descent from all over the world to join us in co-creating a National AI Strategy. The strategy will help shape our approach to building innovative tech solutions to our most pressing national problems.

“If there are any researchers you know, Nigerian and non-Nigerian, who have done some work on the Nigerian market, please share in the comments,” he stated.

Explaining the need for AI strategy for Nigeria, the minister said A has become a multi-purpose technology transforming production and service delivery, with the potential to significantly impact economic growth and social progress.

According to him, recent research showed that Al could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, with $3 trillion from increased productivity and $9.1 trillion from new products and services (PwC, 2018).

“The International Finance Corporation projects that the strategic adoption of Al could add up to $234 billion to Africa’s GDP by 2030. Nigeria in this loop is considered to have a fast-growing technology start-up ecosystem (having attracted 25 per cent of the $1.3 billion funding to African tech start-ups in 2021) and with proactive leadership, is well-positioned to leverage Al for economic diversification and inclusive growth. As an innovation leader on the African continent, Nigeria needs to develop a national strategy to harness the power of Al for sustainable development.

“However, along with the opportunities, Al governance also poses some complex socio-technical challenges. As algorithms are deployed in high-stakes domains like healthcare, finance, and security, concerns are emerging around ethics, bias, transparency, job automation, and privacy. Both policymakers and researchers are of a consensus that a human-centred approach is essential to ensure Al systems are fair and accountable to all, across gender, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

“A National Al Strategy for Nigeria to responsibly steer the Al revolution towards achieving national goals around job creation, social inclusion, and sustainable development becomes imperative. With collaborative leadership, Nigeria seeks to pioneer ethical and inclusive Al innovation that improves welfare and expands opportunities for all its citizens,” it stated.