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Nigeria to lead Africa in AI, blockchain technology – NITDA DG



Nigeria to lead Africa in AI, blockchain technology – NITDA DG

By Ijeoma Olorunfemi

The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Kashifu Inuwa, said Nigeria will lead other African countries in artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology.

He said this will lead to the economic diversification of the continent.

Inuwa made this claim on Wednesday at the Digital Africa 2021 virtual conference and exhibition where he spoke about “Building a New Africa with AI and Blockchain”.

He said that with the continent’s population growth and declining oil revenues, especially in Nigeria, there was a need to tap into other areas to diversify the economy.

Emerging technology is one such area, he said, and will play an important role in economic diversification.

“Digital technologies are changing the world at a faster rate than the waves of technological innovation seen before.

“Nigeria needs to accelerate its growth and modernize its economy through the development of a digitally driven growth strategy for the Nigerian economy.

“It is relevant to note that despite the economic shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the growth seen in economies has come from viable digital economies.

“The digital economy has been identified as an engine of growth, so Nigeria can harness it as an engine of growth and innovation,” he said.

The head of NITDA affirmed that the World Bank Group’s initiative on the digital economy for Africa (DE4A) supports the digital transformation strategy for Africa, prepared by the African Union (AU).

He also stressed that the DE4A initiative recognizes that the digital economy can help accelerate the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He said that recently there was a call to action with the unveiling of the “Economic Sustainability Plan 2020”, which aimed to put technology at the forefront of development in Nigeria.

Inuwa said the conference was a meeting point for professionals, practitioners and policy makers to reflect on how best to harness these technologies for the benefit of citizens.

“For Nigeria, a country in desperate need of diversifying its economy, digital economic activities are essential for diversification as they transcend all aspects of human endeavor and the economic sector,” he said.

He pointed out that at NITDA, the development and use of emerging technologies was one of the strategic pillars of the agency’s 2021-2024 roadmap and action plan.

To drive this pillar, he said the agency is working with relevant stakeholders and researchers to secure AI, blockchain and other emerging technologies to support the country’s economic diversification and sustainability plan.

He reiterated that the focus on economic progress in sub-Saharan Africa, taking advantage of emerging technologies, especially AI, blockchain, Internet of Things and 5G, was highly commendable and appropriate.

He urged stakeholders present at the event to build the partnerships and collaborations necessary to make Nigeria a leading digital and knowledge economy by 2030.

Keynote speaker for the event, Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice President of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), urged Africa to take advantage of the unprecedented volume of data being generated on sentiment, behavior, human health, commerce, communications, migration and more.

“The adoption of AI solutions is expected to increase dramatically over the next few years and competition among large AI companies is expected to be intense.

“In a recent report released by Markets and Markets (M&M), the size of the global AI market is expected to grow from $ 58.3 billion in 2021 to $ 309.6 billion by 2026.

“It’s a compound of a whopping 39.7% growth rate over the forecast period,” Danbatta said.

He explained that BlockChain was the basis of cryptocurrency such as bitcoin; one of the newest technologies that has received considerable global attention in recent times.

According to him, BlockChain served as the immutable metric that allowed transactions to take place and its applications are emerging, spanning many areas including financial services, rebuttal systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), health, among others.

Danbatta also said that robust and reliable broadband infrastructure and cutting-edge technology, such as the 5th generation (5G) network, are needed to unlock the enormous economic potential of AI and BlockChain in every. country.

He reiterated that African countries including Nigeria must be positioned to take advantage of the huge revenues from AI technologies, BlockChain in particular, over the next five years to make way for a digital economy.

AI refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions, while Blockchain technology is a structure that stores transactional records, also known as block, of the public in multiple databases. of data, called a string. (NAA)


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