Nigeria to establish AI, IoT, blockchain research centres across the six geopolitical zones 

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July 4, 2024
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2 min read
NITDA
  • The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has announced plans to establish research centres for emerging technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain, across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
  • The Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa — represented by NITDA’s Director of Corporate Planning and Strategy, Aristotle Onumo — announced this at the opening of the IoT West Africa Conference held in Lagos. He said the initiative aligns with the agency's focus on building a robust technology research ecosystem. 
  • He stated that the initiative aims to foster development and create innovation sandboxes. These sandboxes will enable innovators to develop use cases, establish businesses, and bring their products to market.

The research focus areas for NITDA include IoT, blockchain technology, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), additive manufacturing, AI, and robotics. Additionally, NITDA will support Nigerian startups developing products in these emerging technologies.

Inuwa highlighted the agency's role in building talent by supporting the 3MTT program of the federal government. 

Launched by the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, in November 2023, the 3MTT programme aims to train three million technical talents by 2027 under the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation & Digital Economy (FMCIDE).

The organisers of the IoT event co-located with the Africa Data Center and Cloud Expo Africa noted that Nigeria was chosen as the host country due to its large youth population and thriving startup ecosystem. 

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According to the organisers, with increasing investments in data centres, Nigeria's IoT market is growing, and the conference aimed to attract investors to support local startups developing innovative products in emerging technologies.

What’s more, the Nigerian government has launched its first multilingual large language model (LLM), in collaboration with local AI firms, including NITDA and the National Centre for AI and Robotics (NCAIR). The LLM will be trained in five low-resource languages and accented English, supported by fellows from the 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT) Nigeria program.


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