Mr Kashifu Abdullahi, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has disclosed that the plan of the Nigerian Government as regards Artificial Intelligence, is to ensure that Nigerians take a leading role in shaping the global use of the AI technology.
Mr Abdullahi on Wednesday, said Nigeria will not just be a consuming participant of AI, but will contribute immensely to shaping the use of this technological advancement, even as it helps in birthing the nation’s desired future.
Speaking just after the official launch of the ‘Digital for all Challenge’, the NITDA CEO asserted that Nigeria needs to be ready for the future and as such, the nation is already investing and training citizens on not only the use of AI, but also in deeper research and studies that will yield to the building of new solutions that will positively impact the lives of all citizens.
“AI is the future, but the future is arriving faster than we expect it, we don’t want just to be a participant in AI, but we want to be an active shaper of the AI, therefore, we need to be ready for it.
“We are hugely investing in terms of training, providing grants in research for AI, as well as encouraging our people to build solutions. At NITDA also, we are building our AI assistant such that it can help us to augment our productivity and increase efficiency within service delivery,” the Director stated.
He also noted that NITDA and other government agencies have for a few years now, been working on policies that will guide the use of artificial intelligence within the country, as well as ensuring that a proper act is fashioned to see that AI is used to its most positive use for the good of the country.
Furthermore, the NITDA DG said the government through the Ministry of Communications has issued grants to at least 45 Nigerians, including – researchers, startups and academics who will study and come up with policy and strategy that will see to an easy implementation of AI across various sectors of the country.
Speaking on the ‘Digital for all Challenge’, Mr Abdullahi said that the project which is being executed in collaboration with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, will help millions of young Nigerians acquire new digital skills that will birth Nigeria’s tech future.
This digital skilling competition which returns for its second year, is open to 3 categories of participants across Nigeria and is designed to reward self-development and encourage the acquisition and use of digital skills through competitive incentives.
A total of one hundred and fifty million naira is to be won in this free digital skill-building competition and program which is aimed at increasing digital literacy in Nigeria and igniting interest in obtaining digital skills and certifications using online platforms.
According the program initiators, the challenge will run in two phases: the training phase and the competition phase. An official statement from the creators of the competition – Tech4Dev, states that after the training phase, beneficiaries will be required to take an assessment to qualify for the competition phase.
The competition phase will run in three stages: state, regional and national (grand finale).