BrandArena: Nigeria Advances as Key Players in Tech Steer Discourse on Ethical AI Development Across Africa

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Nigeria Advances as Key Players in Tech Steer Discourse on Ethical AI Development Across Africa

Nigeria's aspiration to spearhead the advancement and ethical application of artificial intelligence (AI) in Africa has gained remarkable traction as stakeholders steer discourse on new innovations. The recent convening of the "Developing the High-Level Strategy and Implementation Plan for a National AI Strategy for Nigeria" workshop, hosted by the Federal Government, underscores the nation's commitment to shaping the trajectory of this transformative technology.

Dr. Bosun Tijani, Minister of Communications, Innovations, and Digital Economy, articulated Nigeria's ambitious vision, emphasizing the imperative for active participation in the global discourse on AI design and regulation. "Nigeria must exert influence on the international stage in shaping the trajectory of AI," he asserted, acknowledging the ethical considerations intrinsic to technological advancement. This proactive stance recognizes AI's potential to catalyze progress while also emphasizing the nation's resolve to steer its development toward beneficial outcomes, both domestically and internationally.

The workshop’s diverse group of AI experts and researchers reflects a strategic investment in building a robust domestic AI ecosystem. NITDA Director-General, Kashifu Abdullahi, envisions the transformative potential of AI, stating “We see a future where AI drives economic diversification and strengthens Nigeria’s leadership position within Africa.” To achieve this, the government, private sector, and international partners must collaborate on initiatives such as:
  • Bridging the Digital Divide: Expanding access to affordable, high-speed internet, particularly in rural areas, will be crucial for widespread AI adoption.
  • AI Education and Talent Development: Fostering a skilled AI workforce through targeted education programs, scholarships, and industry partnerships.
  • Data-Driven Governance: Clear policies on data protection, privacy, and AI bias mitigation will foster public trust and responsible innovation.
  • Incentivising AI Startups: Government support mechanisms, including funding and incubation programs, can fuel the growth of innovative AI-powered enterprises.
Nigeria’s dedication to collaborative and ethical AI development could have rippling benefits internationally. Its leadership could inspire other Global South nations with similar challenges to pursue AI strategies aligned with their own specific needs and values. By demonstrating the potential for successful AI implementation that bridges digital divides and addresses socioeconomic disparities, Nigeria can become a model for equitable technological advancement.

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