The director general of national information technology development agency (NITDA) Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, has expressed optimism that Nigeria will lead Africa in Artificial Intelligence and Block Chain technology, stressing that the federal government was working arduously to attain the feat.
Speaking at a virtual Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition 2021, yesterday, the NITDA boss, who exuded confidence in his conviction that Nigeria will lead Africa in its economic diversification, noted that artificial intelligence and block chain technology will assist immensely in that regard.
He said “Africa, particularly Nigeria, with a growing population and dwindling revenue from oil, have put significant pressure on the economy. There is a need to harness other areas to diversify our economy. Emerging technology is one of these areas, and will play an important role in economic diversification, if properly harnessed.”
Abdullahi, who was delivering a goodwill message at the conference themed; ‘Building a New Africa with AI & Blockchain’, stated that digital technologies are changing the world at a faster pace than previously experienced waves of technological innovation. He further clamoured for Nigeria to accelerate growth and modernise its economy through the development of a digital-led growth strategy for the economy.
“It is pertinent to note that despite the economic shocks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the growth was observed in the economies with viable digital economies,’’ he said.
He emphasised that Digital economy has been identified as an engine of growth adding that Nigeria can harness it as a driver of growth and innovation.
The NITDA boss affirmed that, the WBG Digital Economy for Africa (DE4A) flagship initiative supports the digital transformation strategy for Africa, prepared by the African Union (AU), the DE4A initiative also recognizes that digital economy can help to accelerate the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the World Bank Group’s twin goals.
The keynote speaker of the event, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman of Nigeria communications commission (NCC) in his speech, urged Africa to take advantage of the unprecedented quantities of data, now being generated on sentiment, behaviour, human health, commerce, communications, migration and more.
“Adoption of AI solutions is expected to increase tremendously in the next few years and competition among major AI companies is expected to be intense,” Danbata said.
He noted that, in a recent report published by Markets and Markets (M&M), the global AI market size is projected to grow from 58.3 billion dollars in 2021 to 309.6 billion dollars by 2026, adding that it is a compound of enormous growth rate of 39.7 per cent during the forecast period.