NITDA Aims to Build Thriving AI Developer Community, Extends Training Nationwide

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The DG NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, being presented an award by NAIDT participants during a courtesy call on him by the trained AI Developers.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is charting a bold course for the technological landscape of Nigeria, as the Director-General, Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, unveils an ambitious vision to foster a robust community of artificial intelligence (AI) developers within the nation. This proclamation came to light during a visit to NITDA’s headquarters in Abuja, where Inuwa was honored for his exceptional commitment to the NITDA AI Developers Training (NAIDT) program.

In collaboration with the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) and Google Developers Group (GDG), NITDA successfully orchestrated the NAIDT program, which has already paved the way for numerous skilled instructors, startups, and employment opportunities in the AI sector. A total of 1227 beneficiaries from 10 cohorts underwent rigorous training and coaching in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, setting the stage for a new wave of tech-savvy professionals.

Addressing the achievements of the program, Inuwa expressed his satisfaction with the pilot project in Abuja and announced plans to expand its reach across the country. He articulated his vision of establishing a nation-wide network of developers, with the aim of creating an environment where individuals can learn, teach, and ultimately contribute to society through their AI expertise. “I believe we can start with three states this year, then strategize on how we can take it to other states; with time, extend it to local governments,” Inuwa stated, emphasizing the significance of human capital in Nigeria’s progress.

The Director-General underscored the necessity of gender balance, expressing interest in the demographics of program participants, particularly the number of female beneficiaries. Inuwa’s vision extends beyond training to the establishment of self-sustaining businesses and employment opportunities for AI enthusiasts. “The idea is not just to train people but after training, to connect them with jobs or to inspire and mentor them to start their own businesses,” he asserted.

Inuwa also outlined the potential of the NAIDT platform to foster indigenous innovations, proposing the creation of super apps employing generative AI and language modeling. He highlighted the importance of these advancements in the context of the government’s digitalization efforts, aiming to enhance service efficiency and reduce costs.

Engr. Ya’u Garba, National Director of NCAIR, attributed the genesis of the program to a directive from Inuwa a year prior. The directive was to initiate the training of one million developers under the theme: Learn, Teach, and Earn. He further noted that the DG has generously provided honorariums on a monthly basis to each cohort participating in the program.
Engr. Garba revealed that there were three levels of training: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced.
He said, “In the basics, we teach them what is necessary to become a good programmer, so we teach them Python; of course, you know Python is the language science. After that, most of them come back for the intermediate, where they are equipped with the necessary skills to start their journey in the IT world. Then we have the advance, which is problem-based for people that want to move forward.”
A representative of the Google Developers Group (GDG), Mr Ibrahim Bright Muhammed, appreciated the DG and NITDA for their unwavering support throughout the training programme, adding that “the environment is very
conducive, with very good internet.”
The beneficiaries who shared their experiences expressed gratitude to NITDA for the valuable opportunity that has greatly enriched their lives through the programme. Among them, a number have transitioned from being trainees to becoming trainers themselves. This shift not only instills a sense of achievement in them but also provides them with the satisfaction of witnessing those they’ve mentored effectively applying the knowledge they were imparted.

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