USA and Nigeria to Discuss Digital Economy and AI Advancements for Economic Growth

Zach Anderson  Apr 21, 2024 17:57  UTC 09:57

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The United States of America (USA) and Nigeria are poised to explore potential partnership opportunities in the digital economy, emerging technology, and the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI). The discussions aim to strengthen economic ties between the two countries and foster deeper collaborations in these areas.

The Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy, Mr. Arthur Brown, announced that high-level U.S. government officials will be in Abuja for a conference under the auspices of the U.S.-Nigeria Bi-National Commission. The conference will provide a platform for both countries to discuss the digital economy, emerging technology, and AI advancements.

During the closing ceremony of a four-day Workshop on National Artificial Intelligence Strategy in Abuja, Mr. Brown highlighted the importance of fostering partnerships and working together to drive robust, resilient, and inclusive economic growth. The United States is ready to work with Nigeria as equal partners in various areas, including talent development, infrastructure, research, and innovation. Mr. Brown also commended Nigeria for its support on the adoption of a landmark United Nations resolution on AI and pledged the U.S. government's continued partnership with Nigeria on the economy.

Nigeria has shown a growing commitment to AI and emerging technologies in recent years. In November 2020, the country established the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), the first of its kind in Africa, marking a major moment for state-level commitment to AI. The NCAIR was established in line with Nigeria's National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020 – 2030, which listed AI as one of the eight pillars of the country's digital economy.

Since the establishment of the NCAIR, AI has featured more prominently in government policy efforts. The NCAIR launched programs to equip children with coding and machine learning skills, making them conversant with AI and other emerging technologies. The Nigerian government has also directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to provide AI research grants to tertiary institutions to drive innovation and improve economic resilience.

In March 2023, Nigeria drafted a National AI policy, co-created by the National Information Technology Development Agency and industry experts, to further strengthen its AI commitment. The country has also launched initiatives like the 3 million Technical Talents (3MTT) program and the Nigeria Artificial Intelligence Research Scheme (NAIRS) to train young people in AI and support AI startups and researchers.

The upcoming discussions between the USA and Nigeria present an opportunity for both countries to share knowledge, expertise, and best practices in the digital economy, emerging technology, and AI advancements. By aligning AI governance and ensuring safe, secure, transparent, and trustworthy AI deployment, the partnership aims to drive economic growth and innovation in both nations.

Image source: Shutterstock

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