Nigeria looking at blockchain and AI for digital innovation efforts: Minister

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Nigeria is exploring blockchain, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies in its bid to promote an innovation-driven culture. This is according to the country’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami. Speaking at a recent event, the minister revealed that the government was committed to a national blockchain roadmap which it recently developed.

Nigeria’s government has continued to consider blockchain as one of the technologies with the capacity to turn around the country’s fortunes. During the recent annual Digital Africa Conference, the Minister reiterated the government’s interest in the technology. The theme of the event was “Building a New Africa with AI and Blockchain,” which the Minister said couldn’t have come at a better time, especially given the government’s efforts in promoting blockchain.

Pantami commented, “We are also actively preparing to take advantage of blockchain technologies for our digital economy, and we recently developed a National Blockchain Adoption Strategy.”

The Nigerian government has been developing a National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre, which the Minister believes will go a long way in enabling the adoption of blockchain and other emerging technologies.

“The primary objective of these is to create an atmosphere that would usher in innovation-driven culture among the Nigerian populace,” he remarked.

The Minister’s sentiment was reiterated by Kashifu Inuwa, the director general of Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency. The agency is charged with developing programs that promote the growth of ICT in Nigeria.

Speaking at the same event, Inuwa stated, “For Nigeria, a country in dire need to diversify its economy, digital economic activities are key for diversification because they transcend all aspect of human endeavors and the economic sector.”

Inuwa commended the pace at which Sub-Saharan countries were adopting blockchain, AI, 5G and the Internet of Things. However, according to him, Nigeria is the clear winner. He believes the West African country can take advantage of its population, which is the seventh largest globally, and its advanced economy to further its lead in adoption of emerging technology.

While the country strives to lead the continent in blockchain adoption, it has continued to crack down on digital currencies. The Central Bank of Nigeria earlier this year prohibited all commercial banks from dealing with digital currency clients. It has doubled down on this ban in recent months, but insisted that it hasn’t banned digital currencies entirely. The bank has, on its part, been working on a CBDC for the past two years.

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