Developing digital Infrastructure critical to embracing AI in Africa- NCC




The Nigerian Communications Commission says developing critical digital Infrastructure is crucial to embracing Artificial Intelligence in Africa.

The Executive Vice of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, disclosed this on Wednesday in his keynote address at the ongoing 11th edition of the Digital Conference and Exhibition (DACE) themed: “Artificial Intelligence and Africa” in Abuja.

Danbatta, who was represented by the Head of Consumer Information and Education, Dr Emilia Nwokolo, said the commission committed to developing the framework for 100 per cent AI adoption in Nigeria.

He identified what African countries must do to embrace the potential of AI.

“In recent years, we have witnessed remarkable advancements in AI across various sectors, including healthcare, agriculture, finance, transportation, education, and even governance. AI-powered solutions can address some of Africa’s most pressing challenges, such as limited access to healthcare, food security, financial inclusion, and infrastructure development.

“However, for Africa to fully embrace the benefits of AI, we must address several critical factors. First, we must invest in building the necessary digital Infrastructure. This includes expanding broadband connectivity.

“As of July 2023, the broadband penetration in Nigeria stood at 47.01%. 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 must 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 job opportunities for our youth”, he said.