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July 5, 2024

Nigeria’s six-geo-political zones to get AI, blockchain research  centres

By Upfrontdigital News 0 73 Views


By Bola Olanipekun

THE National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has announced plans for the establishment of research centres for emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain, among others across the six geo-political zones of the country.

    The Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullai, disclosed this yesterday at the on-going IoT West Africa Conference in Lagos.

     Abdullai, who keynoted the conference, said this was in line with one of the focus areas of the agency in building a robust technology research ecosystem.

     The NITDA DG, who was represented by the Director of Corporate Planning and Strategy, Aristole Onumo, added that the research focus areas for NITDA include IoT, blockchain technology, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV); additive manufacturing, AI, and robotics.

   “We are establishing a special-purpose vehicle that is going to look into these key areas and also establish research centres across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria that will be targeting these six key areas of emerging technologies,” he stated.

      MEANWHILE as part of its developmental roles and to fund research in those emerging technology areas the DG said NITDA would also provide support for Nigerian startups that are developing products on emerging technologies.

   “We want to encourage development and also have innovation sandboxes where we can support and encourage those who have ideas to come up with use cases and through that, we can help them to stand, help them to create businesses, and also take them to market,” he said.

    Speaking on other initiatives of the technology development agency, the NITDA DG is also playing a key role in building talent by supporting the Three Million Technical Talent (3MTT) program of the federal government.

   According to him, the goal is to ensure that by the year 2027, three million Nigerians will have been technically trained and empowered. While noting that some of the people being trained may leave the country, he said this would contribute to Nigeria’s talent exports and boost the country’s foreign exchange through increased remittances.

     Earlier, the Managing Director of Vertex Next, the organizers of the IoT West Africa conference, Shitij Taneja, said the choice of Nigeria as the host of the event was because of its pedigree as ‘Africa’s next Silicon Valley’. According to him, Nigeria’s vast youth population and the vibrant startup ecosystem make it a powerhouse for technology development in Africa.

   “The reason we are hosting the IoT West Africa, which is co-located with Africa data center and cloud Expo Africa is because we see a lot of potential in the market and the growing number of youths that are working towards the development of technology,” he said.

    According to him, with increasing investments in data centers coming into the country, Nigeria now has a big market for IoT as people are adopting the technologies. He said part of the purpose of the conference was to also bring in investors to invest in Nigerian startups that are creating products around emerging technologies.

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