Kashifu Inuwa, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has reiterated the government’s commitment to supporting startups and advancing research in Artificial Intelligence (AI) during the Innovate Nigeria 2024 Conference & Expo held at the Landmark Event Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos.
In his keynote address, Inuwa highlighted the importance of government involvement in advancing AI research, citing global trends where countries like the US and China have allocated significant funds for AI research, recognizing its potential for innovation and economic growth.
“At this time of rapid acceleration of Artificial Intelligence, its seemingly limitless potential promises to revolutionize every facet of life,” said Inuwa, who was represented by Dr Aristotle Onumo, the Director of Corporate Planning and Strategy Department at NITDA.
The DG expressed gratitude to Nova Tech for organizing the conference and emphasized its timely nature amidst the transformative potential of AI globally.
Inuwa outlined key initiatives undertaken by the Nigerian government to contribute to AI research, including direct investment in research and development, establishment of collaborative ecosystems, formulation of policies and regulations, fostering international collaboration, and supporting education and workforce development.
“These contributions directly align with the government’s 8-point agenda, particularly emphasizing the importance of creating an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive,” he added.
He specifically highlighted the 7th agenda of the administration, which focuses on accelerating diversification through industrialization, digitization, creative arts, manufacturing, and innovation.
Inuwa also shed light on NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan, aimed at elevating Nigeria’s AI research ranking and fostering digital literacy and talent development. He emphasized the need for collaboration and partnership frameworks to fund research and outlined the Agency’s support for startups through the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.
“The National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics is open 24 hours a day to guide, nurture, and support startups through the journey of conceptualizing their ideas all through to the level of impact and commercialization,” he affirmed.
In conclusion, Inuwa reiterated the transformative potential of AI in driving economic prosperity and underscored the importance of collaboration between the government and the ecosystem to explore new frontiers of knowledge. The commitment to advancing AI research aligns with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, focusing on industrialization and digitization to accelerate diversification and economic growth in Nigeria.