As Nigeria marks her diamond jubilee, we are reminded forcibly of institutions not built to stand, dire economic conditions, and our laggard advancement into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR). For Nigeria as “The giant of Africa” to be in any way a key player in the global decision-making caucus in the nearest future, the government must start making plans today to accelerate the pace of the country into the FIR. It is therefore imperative that the research, relevance, benefits, and opportunities presented by artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics take center stage in the national discourse. But what will be the point of departure for such a move to begin in Nigeria?
Establishment Of A National AI and Data Analytics Agenda
For Nigeria to weather the storms associated with the adoption of the FIR in all facets of her economy, the government must have a well spelt out policy agenda for artificial intelligence and data analytics. This transformative agenda must include a roadmap that creates a system conducive for AI to flourish by encouraging its innovation and accelerating its adoption into different sectors in the country. Recognizing the diverse advantages AI and data analytics presents to the Nigerian economy, Policymakers are saddled with the responsibility of leveraging on the solutions provided by these allied technologies to launch Africa’s most populous nation into the era of the FIR.
Infusion of AI and Data Science into The Educational System
Including artificial intelligence and data science into the curriculum of the Nigerian education system right from the primary level will make the future generation vast and well equipped with the lexicon of the world of AI and data science. What happens when we immerse the education system with the jargon of artificial intelligence and data analytics is that we build a future that is familiar with the inner workings of AI and data science. But more than that, we stand the chance of raising a generation that looks at the possible career paths AI and data science confers, attaining their relevance in the future of work. Ultimately, by infusing AI and data science into Nigeria’s education system, we are guaranteed of being rightly positioned to accumulate long-term transformational privileges that will encourage the country’s economic growth.
Investment Opportunities For Locally-Based AI Companies
The battle to make Nigeria a driving force in the FIR will not be won without private artificial intelligence and data analytics companies in the country. With little or no funding available, many research projects started by AI companies are left unfinished making it impossible for them to provide tailored AI solutions to Nigeria specific problems. But with investments and funding made available, AI companies can complete and execute the needed research that will generate the machine learning algorithms necessary to advance the country. Government-enabled funds, as well as public investments, should be encouraged as this will boost the operations level of locally-based AI companies in Nigeria.
Creation of An AI/Data Analytics Learning, Research, and Innovation Centre
Research is foundational in AI to develop theories and methods that will be vital in solving simultaneous cases. For AI and data analytics to have a foothold in Nigeria, the government must set up a well-funded center for artificial intelligence and data science that will enhance AI research, promote AI development projects, and, provide data analytics technical know-how. This will also create opportunities for the new generation of Nigerians who look to have careers in AI.
For Nigeria to fully immerse herself in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the government must have a firm grip on spearheading the optimization of artificial intelligence and data science in the country. That is as the nation celebrates its 60th anniversary, the government should begin putting in place structures that will better position Nigeria as a global power in the nearest future through the adoption of AI and data analytics.