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FG says Nigeria will lead Africa in developing and regulating AI globally

Tijani said digital technology was a reality in Asia, America, and Europe, adding that the reality should be the same in Nigeria and Africa.

Dr Bosun Tijani, Minister of Communications,Innovation and Digital Economy. [Twitter:@bosuntijani]

The government said it became imperative for Nigeria to be an active participant, considering that there would soon be global convergence on the ways AI was developed and deployed by global powers.

The Minister of Communications, Innovations, and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani, made the remarks on Monday at the opening ceremony of a workshop on National Artificial Intelligence Strategy in Abuja.

The theme of a four-day workshop titled “Developing the High-Level Strategy and Implementation Plan for a National AI Strategy for Nigeria’’

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Tijani said digital technology was a reality in Asia, America, and Europe, adding that the reality should be the same in Nigeria and Africa as Nigeria could not afford to be left behind.

“The US, UK and Asia have inputs on how AI is developed and regulated. Right now, there are lots of silos regarding the ways and manners AI is developed and applied.

“And in a short while, there will be a convergence on AI systems, so Nigeria should be part of that global superpower in the development and regulations of AI.

AI is going to change the narratives in all areas of human endeavours. We are here to develop a strategic roadmap that will enhance our knowledge, skills, participation, development, and deployment.

“Any technology that has the potential of a watchdog on how we think and what we do, our goals should not be restricted to what we get as a nation but what it will mean to humanity as a whole.”

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Tijani, who praised sponsors of the programme and other development partners, said Nigeria should show leadership from the perspective of Africa on how AI was deployed.

He said the workshop was expected to come up with far-reaching and deep resolutions and strategies on the way forward for the adoption and deployment of AI in Nigeria.

He said the approach was fundamental because it would help the country to use its diversity and expertise to create an inclusive strategy and also reflect the nation’s consensus.

For me when we look at this AI, it is not just strategic to AI but the need to develop a strategy in AI,” he said.

Earlier, Kashifu Abdullahi, Director-General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), said the approach was vital because it would help diversify the nation’s economy.

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“AI is beyond just looking at it as a technology but a transformational technology that we can apply across sectors to boost the economy.

“If we get it right, it will help us achieve much as a nation. We can use AI to develop economic diversification strategies in Nigeria and Africa.

“So, we can design our economy diversification strategy with AI in mind.

The approach is fundamental because it will help us to use our diversity and expertise to create a strategy that is inclusive and also reflects our consensus.’’

He also urged the participants to develop a strategy on national security.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was organised by the ministry in collaboration with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).

Others were the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), Galaxy Backbone, (GBB), Google, and other Development Partners.

NAN also reports that no fewer than 120 local and international organisations and professional groups, including the academia are participating in the workshop.

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