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Develop Transformational, Implementable AI Strategy, FG Urges Experts

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The Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani.
The Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani.

The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, has issued a call to Nigerian experts in the fields of research, development and innovation to craft a transformative and actionable Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy.

This strategy aims to align with the administration’s eight priorities, foster economic growth and position Nigeria on the global stage. Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani emphasised the vast potential of AI to revolutionise various sectors, from communication to agriculture and underscored its role in national prosperity and development.

Acknowledging the pivotal moment, Bosun urged participants to actively engage in shaping the trajectory of AI development in Nigeria, emphasising the importance of global collaboration in AI governance. He challenged them to envision an AI strategy not limited to Nigeria or Africa but inclusive of the global community. Furthermore, he stressed the need for a technology that enhances productivity and connects humanity to diverse opportunities, urging participants to think both locally and globally.

The permanent secretary of the ministry, Engr. Faruk Yabo echoed the transformative potential of AI for Nigeria, envisioning a future where AI permeates every aspect of national life. He urged participants to approach the task with a practical mindset, considering cultural values, traditional norms and national security concerns.

Director-general of NITDA, Kashifu Abdullahi emphasised AI’s cross-cutting nature and its potential to catalyze economic growth and enhance productivity. Citing projections from the World Economic Forum (WEF) and other sources, he highlighted the significant economic benefits AI could bring globally – add 15.7trillion to global economy by 2030 – and urged Nigeria to capitalise on this technology to achieve economic diversification and national security.

The workshop, co-sponsored by various agencies and organisations including AI Buds participants, Luminate, Google, Meta, Microsoft, UNESCO and UNDP, aims to shape the future of AI in Nigeria. It seeks to redefine and refocus Nigeria’s technological trajectory, positioning the country as a leader in AI development within the global community.

In crafting the AI strategy, participants are tasked with considering not only Nigeria’s specific needs but also global imperatives and opportunities. The goal is to develop a comprehensive framework that fosters innovation, promotes inclusivity and safeguards national interests. By leveraging AI as a tool for socioeconomic advancement, Nigeria aims to carve out its niche in the ever-evolving landscape of digital transformation.

A statement by the ministry’s head of press and public relations, Kania Andeyaba said Abdullahi underlined AI as a cross-cutting and generic technology that can be applied everywhere.

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