Communications Minister Extends Invitation to Leading Researchers for the Development of a National AI Strategy

searchers from Nigeria and around the world to collaborate on crafting the nation’s National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy. The initiative was unveiled through a series of announcements made by Dr. Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, on the digital platform X, on Monday.

Dr. Tijani highlighted the importance of engaging researchers who possess a track record of involvement within the Nigerian market. He expressed, “We are in the process of assembling a group of eminent researchers of Nigerian origin from various corners of the globe to partner with us in the collaborative creation of a National AI Strategy. This strategy will play a pivotal role in shaping our approach towards developing innovative technological solutions to address our nation’s most pressing challenges.”

He further encouraged the online audience to share information about researchers, both Nigerian and non-Nigerian, who have contributed to the Nigerian market. This collaborative approach seeks to draw upon a diverse range of expertise.

In conjunction with these announcements, the minister provided a whitepaper that expounded on the Federal Government’s objectives concerning the National AI Strategy. The document emphasized the critical nature of steering the AI revolution towards the achievement of national objectives such as job creation, social inclusion, and sustainable development.

The whitepaper illuminated the potential economic benefits of AI adoption, referencing the International Finance Corporation’s projection that strategic AI implementation could contribute up to $234 billion to Africa’s GDP by 2030. Given Nigeria’s burgeoning technology startup ecosystem, which attracted 25% of the $1.3 billion funding allocated to African tech startups in 2021, the country is well-positioned to harness AI for economic diversification and inclusive growth.

Recognized as an innovation leader on the African continent, Nigeria is now tasked with formulating a comprehensive national strategy to harness the transformative power of AI for sustainable development.

“However, amidst the potential opportunities, the realm of AI governance presents intricate socio-technical dilemmas.

As algorithms find applications in critical sectors such as healthcare, finance, and security, apprehensions are coming to the forefront regarding ethical considerations, bias, transparency, automation of jobs, and safeguarding privacy. A consensus is forming among both policymakers and researchers that a human-centric perspective is imperative. This approach aims to ensure that AI systems remain equitable and accountable to all segments of society, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background.

We are assembling a collection of preeminent researchers with Nigerian heritage from around the globe to collaborate with us in the development of a National AI Strategy. This strategy will play a pivotal role in guiding our approach to crafting innovative technological solutions for our nation’s most urgent challenges…1/2

— Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani (@bosuntijani) August 28, 2023”

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