Stakeholders mull N752.25bn investment in AI for economic growth

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Stakeholders in technology ecosystem have called for investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to harness its potential for industrial revolution in Nigeria, stating that at least N752.25 billion ($1.3 billion) needs to be invested in the technology. Though some private tech firms have been investing in AI, the industry players at a forum recently said there was a need for full commitment to investment in the technology, saying those firms are deploying only a few aspects useful to their operation. The agitation for AI investment rose following the call by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, for the deployment of AI by African countries to reposition their economies, adding that AI holds the power to transform societies, drive economic growth, and improve the well-being of the African people, urging the countries to work together to build an inclusive, sustainable, and AI-powered Africa. A report by McKinsey had indicated that generative artificial intelligence (AI) could add the equivalent of $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion every year. But this would mostly go to developed “The government needs to know that this is the only way that prosperity and happiness will come back to this nation by this alternative, we are not going to import and it is domiciled here in this country, in megatonnes.

There is no other. “It will reduce the hardship of Nigerians and create more business opportunities. It will also create enormous wealth. Industries that are running at a higher cost now will begin to run at cheaper energy. Electricity will also have a new direction. So this is the way to go.” He added: “No country moves forward depending only on a particular product. So there must be ambitions and conscious efforts towards that direction.The FG should come in and create the market. How do you create the market? It is by making money available to people to do the conversion and buy new cards that will run on CNG with little interest in it. “The government can also encourage marketers so that CNG will be readily available. The way of encouragement is to begin to create a market, making the CNG kits and the ancillaries within the value chain available.

There is no other way.” He appealed to Nigerians to countries that have already mapped their positions in the AI market, as African countries are expected to largely receive very little from the investment. Africa, however, appears not ready for the $4.4 trillion AI economy. The sub-Saharan Africa region’s average score on the Index was the lowest globally at 29.38. Many African countries are also at the lower end of the ranking spectrum. Mauritius (53.38), South Africa (47.74), and Kenya (40.36) occupy the top three positions on the Index. Meanwhile, Danbatta said for Africa to fully embrace the benefits of AI, they must address several critical factors.

He said: “First, we must invest in building the necessary digital infrastructure. This includes expanding broadband connectivity. “Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as one of the most transformative technologies of our time. Its potential to revolutionize industries, enhance productivity, and improve the quality of life for citizens cannot be overstated. As the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), I believe that AI will play a pivotal role in shaping Africa’s digital future. There are several examples of AI-powered software in use in our daily lives, including voice assistants, face recognition for unlocking mobile phones, fingerprint biometrics, and machine learningbased financial fraud detection. “In recent years, we have witnessed remarkable advancements in AI across various sectors, including healthcare, agriculture, finance, transportation, education, and even governance. AI-powered solutions have the potential to address some of Africa’s most pressing challenges, such as limited access to healthcare, food security, financial inclusion, and infrastructure development. “However, for Africa to fully embrace the benefits of AI, we must address several critical factors. First, we must invest in building the necessary digital infrastructure. This includes expanding broadband connectivity.

“Secondly, we must prioritise digital skills development. AI technologies require a skilled workforce capable of developing, deploying, and maintaining these systems. We need to invest in education and training programs that equip our youth with the necessary skills to participate in the AI-driven economy. By nurturing a generation of AI experts, we can elevate Africa’s position in the global AI land”.




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