How Nigeria can reap AI benefits, by NCC

How Nigeria can reap AI benefits, by NCC


Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday identified investment in digital infrastructure, digital skills development and collaboration, among other factors, that would enable the country and, indeed, Africa, to reap the fruits of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof Garba Danbatta, in a keynote at 11th Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition (DACE) in Abuja, said AI has emerged as one of the most transformative technologies of our time with potential to revolutionise industries, enhance productivity, and improve the quality of life for citizens.

According to him, AI will play a pivotal role in shaping Africa’s digital future, adding that there are several examples of AI-powered software in use, including voice assistants, face recognition for unlocking mobile phones, fingerprint biometrics, and machine learning-based financial fraud detection.

He said for Africa to fully embrace the benefits of AI, several critical factors must be addressed. “First, we must invest in building the necessary digital infrastructure. This includes expanding broadband connectivity.

“In Nigeria, as of July 2023, the broadband penetration stood at 47.01per cent. Also, the continent must commit to ensuring reliable power supply and fostering a conducive regulatory environment. Without robust infrastructure, the potential of AI will remain untapped, and the digital divide will further widen.

“Secondly, we must prioritize 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 landscape and create jobs for our youth.

“Moreover, ethical considerations must underpin our approach to AI. As we deploy AI systems, we must ensure transparency, accountability, and fairness. We must guard against biases, protect privacy and data security, and uphold human rights. AI should be a force for good, promoting inclusivity and leaving no one behind,” he said.