U.S. and Nigeria Forge Partnership to Strengthen AI Development

The United States and Nigeria are set to expand their collaboration in the digital economy and artificial intelligence (AI) development, aiming to ensure the safe, secure, transparent, and trustworthy deployment of AI technologies. This was revealed during the closing ceremony of a four-day workshop on the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy in Abuja, where Mr. Arthur Brown, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy, announced upcoming talks to explore partnership opportunities.

Upcoming Conference in Abuja to Foster AI Collaboration

Brown stated that senior officials from the U.S. government would convene in Abuja within two weeks for a conference organised by the U.S.-Nigeria Bi-National Commission. Building on the momentum from the recent workshop, this conference will focus on the broader scope of AI and the digital economy, with a follow-up conference planned in Lagos.

The partnership aims to strengthen economic ties and facilitate the exchange of best practices in AI deployment. Brown emphasised the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting Nigeria as an equitable partner in advancing talent development, infrastructure, research, and innovation in AI technology.

Nigeria’s Focus on AI Governance and Innovation

Dr. Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications Innovation and Digital Economy, stressed the need for African governments and leaders to take proactive measures to support their AI aspirations and strategies. Tijani also noted that rather than focusing solely on revenue, Nigeria should prioritise effective governance of AI to boost productivity across various sectors.

To drive AI development, the Ministry of Communications Innovation and Digital Economy, in partnership with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), organised the four-day workshop to craft a collaborative framework for implementing AI in Nigeria. This workshop culminated in the launch of Nigeria’s first Multilingual Large Language Model (LLM), marking a significant step in the country’s pursuit of a leadership position in AI development in Africa.

The Role of AI in the Global Economy

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, AI could contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, with about $3 trillion attributed to enhanced productivity and $9.1 trillion resulting from novel goods and services. This underscores the importance of partnerships like the one between the U.S. and Nigeria, as AI has the potential to drive innovation, create jobs, and improve various sectors.

The Nigerian government’s initiative to collaborate with scientists of Nigerian heritage and globally renowned experts demonstrates its commitment to developing a comprehensive National Artificial Intelligence Strategy. This approach, combined with the partnership with the U.S., lays the foundation for Nigeria’s AI advancement and its role in the global digital economy.

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