Nigerian government calls on researchers to collaborate on national AI strategy

Developing a National AI Strategy for Nigeria is deemed crucial to responsibly guide the AI revolution towards achieving national goals, including job creation, social inclusion, and sustainable development.

a person holding a tablet in front of a Nigerian flag.

The Nigerian government is inviting top experts of Nigerian descent from around the world to collaborate in co-creating a National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy. At the forefront of this initiative is Dr Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy.

What does the government aim to achieve? It places immense importance on the active participation of researchers in the co-creation of the national AI strategy. By enlisting the expertise of top Nigerian researchers, the strategy can be moulded to tackle the nation’s most immediate challenges and pave the way for inventive technological solutions. This collaborative approach seeks to tap into the profound knowledge and insights of researchers, ensuring that the strategy remains in harmony with Nigeria’s unique requirements and goals. Finally, Nigeria seeks to pioneer ethical and inclusive Al innovation that improves welfare and expands opportunities for all its citizens.

A whitepaper (Co-creating a National Artificial Intelligence Strategy for Nigeria) shared by the minister highlights the opportunities and risks of AI, touching upon economy, governance, and ethics, among others.

When it comes to the economic benefits of AI, it is projected that it could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. This estimate includes $3 trillion from increased productivity and $9.1 trillion from new products and services (PwC, 2018). The International Finance Corporation also projects that the strategic adoption of AI could add up to $234 billion to Africa’s GDP by 2030.

Nigeria, with its rapidly growing technology start-up ecosystem that attracted 25% of the $1.3 billion funding for African tech start-ups in 2021, is well-positioned to leverage AI for economic diversification and inclusive growth.

However, AI adoption also poses challenges in terms of governance, including concerns about ethics, bias, transparency, job automation, and privacy. These concerns are particularly significant as AI algorithms are being implemented in crucial domains such as healthcare, finance, and security.

To address these concerns, the paper concurs on the necessity of a human-centred approach to ensure fairness and accountability in AI systems.

The Digital Watch Observatory has a comprehensive mapping of national AI strategies. To learn more about what countries have issued national AI strategies, consult the map below.