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Nigeria on the hunt for top researchers for its AI strategy

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Nigeria is inviting top artificial intelligence (AI) researchers to contribute to its National Artificial Intelligence Strategy as it seeks to set the pace for other African countries.

Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, announced on X that the government seeks to leverage AI for sustainable development.

The National AI Strategy will steer Africa’s largest economy toward achieving national goals around job creation and social inclusion, Tijani says.

“With collaborative leadership, Nigeria seeks to pioneer ethical and inclusive AI innovation that improves welfare and expands opportunities for all its citizens,” the minister added.

Tijani called on top AI researchers of Nigerian descent and non-Nigerians who have done some work on the Nigerian market to help the government build on its strategy.

Nigeria’s economy has seen turbulent times in recent years, with the naira losing its value against the dollar, a botched currency redesign and consequent cash shortage, and a change in governance as Bola Tinubu became president, all disrupting the West African nation.

However, the country is a regional tech leader, and with the new strategy, it seeks to be Africa’s AI hub.

“Nigeria in this loop is considered to have a fast-growing technology start-up ecosystem and with proactive leadership, is well-positioned to leverage Al for economic diversification and inclusive growth,” the minister noted.

“As an innovation leader on the African continent, Nigeria needs to develop a national strategy to harness the power of Al for sustainable development.”

AI could inject over $234 billion into Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) before the decade’s end, according to the International Finance Corporation.

Nigeria’s AI push has its risks. Goldman Sachs (NASDAQ: GSestimates that 300 million people globally could lose their jobs to AI, with some other sources offering higher estimates. In a country that reported a 33% unemployment rate in 2021, this could spell more doom in the near future.

However, the Nigerian government is committed to AI adoption. It has charged the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) with creating AI developers’ communities across Nigeria to shape the future of the technology.

NITDA Director-General Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi is leading the initiative, which he says is led by a belief that “in Nigeria, our most valuable asset as a nation is our human capital.”

Kashifu has also been pushing for the adoption of blockchain and recently revealed that his agency is using the technology to fight forgery in issuing NYSC certificates.

In order for artificial intelligence (AI) to work right within the law and thrive in the face of growing challenges, it needs to integrate an enterprise blockchain system that ensures data input quality and ownership—allowing it to keep data safe while also guaranteeing the immutability of data. Check out CoinGeek’s coverage on this emerging tech to learn more why Enterprise blockchain will be the backbone of AI.

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