Handshake between Nigeria and USA flags

Nigeria, US to partner on AI, digital economy

Nigeria and the United States have pledged to collaborate in advancing the digital economy and emerging technology, including artificial intelligence (AI).

Speaking after a four-day event focused on Nigeria’s AI strategy, Arthur Brown, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, said the American government will support the West African nation to develop infrastructure and drive research and innovation.

“We want to foster deeper partnerships and work together to create programmes and policies that will drive robust, resilient, and inclusive economic growth,” Brown told the attendees at the National AI Strategy Workshop.

To deliver on the promise, the American government will co-host the U.S.-Nigeria Bi-National Commission within the next two weeks, Brown said. The event will bring together Nigeria’s leadership with high-level U.S. government officials, with AI at the top of the agenda.

The event, set to be held in Lagos, will “deepen the linkages between our economies,” Brown said. “We want to align Al’s governance to ensure that Al is deployed in a safe, secure, transparent, and trustworthy manner.”

The Biden administration has been advocating for safe and secure AI since ChatGPT burst onto the scene, and the upcoming event will promote this agenda in Nigeria. Some of its initiatives have included having Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), OpenAI, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Anthropic and other major players sign a commitment to transparency in AI development.

However, the government has stopped short of pushing for any laws to guide the AI development process, instead relying on the goodwill of these mega companies. The closest it has come was with an executive order last October that introduced new standards.

In his speech at the AI event, Nigerian Communications Innovation and Digital Economy Minister Bosun Tijani called on African countries to pool resources together to develop AI.

He believes this would give Africa “a single voice, where necessary, as a continent so that we can allow our entrepreneurs and creative innovators to take advantage of that market.”

Nigeria continues to spearhead AI development in Africa. It most recently announced the launch of the Nigerian Multilingual Large Language Model, which will be trained in accented English and five other local languages to ensure diversity in AI development.

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