By Emmanuel Elebeke – Abuja
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has charged African countries to prioritise investing in artificial intelligence (AI) to drive economic growth and social development.
Danbatta gave the charge at the just concluded 11th edition of the Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition in Abuja, Nigeria.
Danbatta, who was represented by the Head of Consumer Information and Education at the NCC, Dr. Emilia Nwokolo said that AI has the potential to revolutionize industries, enhance productivity, and improve the quality of life for citizens.
According to him, “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.”
However, he noted that for Africa to fully benefit from the benefits of AI, it must address several critical factors, such as 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.
“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 gathered experts from across the continent to discuss the latest trends in AI and its potential to transforming Africa’s digital landscape.