The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr Kashifu Inuwa, has restated the Federal Government’s commitment to advancing the research of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Inuwa said this in a statement in Abuja recently, represented by the agency’s Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Mrs Hadiza Umar.
The Director-General said this at the Innovate Nigeria 2024 Conference and Expo in Lagos, where he spoke on the role of government in advancing AI research and its implications for Nigeria’s economic future.
This, he said, was part of efforts in implementing President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda aimed at accelerating diversification through industrialisation and digitisation.
Represented by Dr. Aristotle Onumo, the agency’s Director of the Corporate Planning and Strategy Department, Inuwa cited global trends where governments including the U.S. and China have allocated significant funds for AI research.
According to him, these countries recognise the potential of their innovative drive and economic growth ability.
“There is a positive correlation between government investment and advancements in AI, and it is projected to have market value which is surpassing 190 billion dollars by 2025.
“The government has done direct investment in research and development, establishment of collaborative ecosystems, formulation of policies and regulations, fostering international collaboration and supporting education and workforce development,” director-general said.
He said that these contributions directly aligned with the government’s eight-point agenda, emphasising the importance of creating an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive.
“The seventh agenda which is Accelerating Diversification through Industrialisation, Digitisation, Creative Arts, Manufacturing and Innovation resonates with the specific role of government in AI research.
“This lays the democratisation of digital service to create more economic value anchors,” he said.
According to him, the agency’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) is to elevate the country’s AI research ranking and foster digital literacy and talent development.
He underscored the need for a collaboration framework to fund research as well as the government’s efforts in nurturing a vibrant innovation ecosystem.
Inuwa said the agency’s subsidiary, the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics was open 24 hours a day to guide, nurture and support start-ups through the journey of conceptualising ideas through to impact and commercialisation.