The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami has commissioned the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.
Speaking at the launch in Abuja, Dr. Pantami expressed his pleasure over the achievement of this milestone.
He noted that the centre is central to the National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria .
According to the minister, the National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria was developed based on 8 pillars.
” It is in alignment with the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari on job creation and economic diversification.
Developmental Regulation, Digital Literacy and Skills, Solid Infrastructure, Service Infrastructure, Digital Services Development and Promotion, Soft Infrastructure, Digital Society and Emerging Technologies, and Indigenous Content Development and Adoption”.
He said the newly launched center is proposed on pillar 7 of the policy.
“The proposed activities of this Centre map down to Pillar 7 on Digital Society and Emerging Technologies and this explains the choice of the Centre’s name”.
“In addition to Pillar 7, other pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy will create the regulatory environment required for the success of the Centre.”
“It include related policies and regulatory instruments like the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), National Cloud Computing Policy, the Nigerian National Broadband Plan and the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy, amongst others”.
Pantanmi while highlighting the importance of Artificial intelligence and Robotics stated that ,AI and Robotics are 2 very important emerging technologies that will shape the face of future technologies. “We have decided to be proactive to enable us play a key role in how these technologies evolve.
Emerging technologies change from time to time since they are technologies that emerge or evolve.”
The Minister noted that the National Centre for AI and Robotics (NCAIR) will serve as a leading hub of innovation, research and development, knowledge transfer, and training in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics and other emerging technologies.
“Our adoption of regulatory sandbox frameworks for testing technology in a controlled environment will enable the Center accelerate the progress we are making in the development of our digital economy”.
The Director-General NITDA, Kashifu Abdullahi in his address stated that Artificial Intelligence has the potential to add to economic growth.
” The impact may be gradual and take sometime to manifest according to McKinsey Global Institute.
“Develop countries can add 20 to 25% net income to their GDP, while developing countries like Nigeria can add 5 to 15%. Nigerian GDP, which is around 400B USD.
Artificial Intelligencecan add between 20B to 60B USD in 10 years. This centre is aimed at achieving such unprecedented boost to our economy”.
Abdullahi however appealed to stakeholders to join hands so that the facilities will be of optimum use.
“It will bring about the projected gains of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in the Nigerian technological space.
It will convene stakeholders focused on Innovation Driven Entrepreneurship (IDE), and educate regional leaders through team-based interaction to achieve economic and social progress.”
The Centre will house the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT-REAP) Office , which is set to translate research insights into practical frameworks.
The Director General noted that the Centre will engage youth, and support the diversification of the economy, and create more jobs.