Nigeria launches national centre for artificial intelligence and robotics

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Ndaman Joshua Olayinka
Tech Zealot and Passionate about writing everything concerning it. I support Arsenal.

The Federal government of Nigeria has inaugurated the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics to engage youths for the emerging challenges in digital Nigeria.

In a bid to harness converging technologies to create an inclusive, human-centred future. The Honourable Minister of Communications & Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami on Friday, November 13, 2020, in Abuja commissioned the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics. This is the first of its kind in Nigeria and was initiated by Dr Isa Pantami and implemented by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in line with its mandate.

The National Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics will promote seven out of the eight pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) of the Federal Government for a digital Nigeria.

The minister speaking at the inauguration said that the journey to digitalize Nigeria began with the President’s approval to include the Digital Economy mandate under the Ministry’s purview. This, he noted, necessitated the birth of a Policy document (NEDPS) which has become the foundation for implementing the Digital Nigeria Agenda.

“The global paradigm shift from mere paper qualifications to proven skills, particularly digital skills, has necessitated the establishment of a high tech skill acquisition centre such as this. The Centre 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.  In addition, the Centre will also create a vision for AI, develop an AI Ecosystem, support data stewardship  while providing access to specialized technical skills in the country”.

“Artificial Intelligence is the refinery of the digital economy and Robotics is very useful in supporting companies as they carry out repetitive tasks.

Pantami emphasized that the Centre will provide a robust platform for achieving a digital economy for Nigeria through  digital literacy and skills development and innovation .

The Honourable Minister expressed confidence that the Centre will productively engage the youths, create more jobs and inspire digital entrepreneurship. He commended the Director General NITDA  and his team for bringing the vision to life and urged them to do more.

Chairman of the Ceremony, Honourable Minister for FCT Mallam Mohammad Musa Bello, commended Dr Pantami for his unprecedented strides in the sector. He disclosed that the remarkable achievements in the sector have impacted on not just the sector, but the nation’s economy as a whole citing the steady rise in the sector’s contribution to the Nation’s GDP.

In his welcome address, the DG NITDA, Host of the event while appreciating the Honourable Minister for his exempery leadership and mentorship challenged the youths to take advantage of the initiatives and strateges deployed by government particularly in the digital economy sector to empower themselves so as to take their place on the global stage. He further disclosed that under the supervision of Dr Pantami, the Agency has continued to proactively facilitate the development of Nigeria into a sustainable digital economy in line with its mandate and the provisions of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria.

The center is fully equipped with the state of the art facilities that include (s)

  1. 3D Printer;
  2. Training Facilities;
  3. Digital Innovation Lab;
  4. Abuja MIT Reap Office;
  5. Co-Working Space for Startups; and
  6. Marketspace & Fablab Infrastructure.

Dignitaries at the event included the Honourable Minister for FCT, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello who chaired the event, the Honourable Minister of State for Science and Technology Barrister Mohammed Bello, the Executive Secretary Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) Mallam Mohammed Bobboi, Chief Executive Officers of the parastatls and Agencies under the Ministry’s purview, captains of industry, high level public officials and stakeholders.

Related article: Grazac launches the first innovation and co-working space in the heart of Abeokuta, Ogun state

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