Federal Government Initiates Global Hunt for Leading Nigerian Researchers to Execute AI Strategy

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The Nigerian Federal Government has initiated a call for applications from researchers of Nigerian origin worldwide to contribute to the development of the National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy. The announcement was made by Dr. Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, through a series of tweets, where he urged Nigerians to recommend top researchers for this groundbreaking initiative.

In a detailed document shared on an unspecified platform, Dr. Tijani outlined Nigeria’s ambitious plan to establish a comprehensive National Artificial Intelligence Strategy, building upon the foundation laid by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). The primary goal of this initiative is to engage leading AI researchers of Nigerian descent from around the globe in a collaborative effort to craft a strategy that will address the unique challenges faced by the nation.

Dr. Tijani extended an open invitation for recommendations of researchers, whether of Nigerian origin or not, who have previously worked within the Nigerian market or have relevant expertise in the field of AI.

The minister underscored the critical importance of formulating an AI strategy for Nigeria, citing AI as a multipurpose technology with the potential to revolutionize production and services. He referenced a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which projected that AI could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, with $9.1 trillion coming from new products and services and an additional $3 trillion from increased productivity.

Furthermore, Dr. Tijani highlighted data from the International Finance Corporation, suggesting that strategic AI deployment could boost Africa’s GDP by as much as $234 billion by 2030. Given Nigeria’s vibrant technology startup ecosystem, which attracted 25% of the $1.3 billion in funding for African tech startups in 2021, the nation is well-positioned to harness AI for economic diversification and inclusive growth under proactive leadership.

However, the minister acknowledged the challenges of AI governance, particularly in sectors like healthcare, banking, and security, where algorithms are increasingly used. Ethical concerns, bias, transparency, job automation, and privacy issues are emerging as crucial considerations in AI development. To address these concerns, Dr. Tijani emphasized the need for a human-centered strategy that ensures AI systems are fair and responsible, serving the interests of all citizens.

In conclusion, Dr. Tijani stressed the importance of Nigeria adopting a national AI strategy to guide the responsible evolution of AI toward achieving key national objectives, including job creation, social inclusion, and sustainable development. Nigeria aims to lead the way in ethical and inclusive AI innovation, fostering improved welfare and expanded opportunities for all its citizens through collaborative leadership

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