The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, has called on African countries to invest in artificial intelligence (AI) to drive economic growth and social development.
Danbatta, who was represented by the Head of Consumer Information and Education at the NCC, Dr. Emilia Nwokolo, at the opening ceremony of the 11th edition of the Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition in Abuja, Nigeria, said that AI has the potential to revolutionize industries, enhance productivity, and improve the quality of life for citizens.
“AI technologies have the potential to address some of Africa’s most pressing challenges, such as limited access to healthcare, food security, financial inclusion, and infrastructure development,” Danbatta said.
However, he noted that for Africa to fully embrace the benefits of AI, it must address several critical factors, including investing in building the necessary digital infrastructure, prioritizing digital skills development, and ensuring ethical considerations underpin its approach to AI.
Danbatta also called for collaboration and partnerships among governments, regulatory bodies, academia, the private sector, and civil society to unlock the potential of AI in Africa.
“The NCC is fully committed to supporting the development and deployment of AI technologies in Nigeria and across the continent,” he said. “We are working to create an enabling regulatory framework that promotes innovation while safeguarding the interests of consumers and citizens. We are also collaborating with stakeholders to establish AI research and development centres, incubation hubs, and startup ecosystems to nurture homegrown AI talent.”
The theme of this year’s Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition is “Artificial Intelligence and Africa.” The conference brings together experts from across the continent to discuss the latest trends in AI and its potential to transform Africa.