• Saturday, February 24, 2024
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AI, Blockchain catalyst for Nigeria’s economic transformation

AI, Blockchain catalyst for Nigeria’s economic transformation
…tech economy seen generating global revenue of $134.8 billion by 2025

In the vast landscape of technology, the world finds itself at the dawn of a new era ushered in by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain. Industry players believe this innovation with capacity to generate global revenue of $134.8 billion can transform Nigeria’s economy.

Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director general at the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) speaking on the theme; “AI and BlockChain for Sustainable Development of MSMEs”, said technologies are architects of a new reality, reshaping industries, driving efficiency, and unlocking innovations once deemed impossible.

Abdullahi made this known at the third international conference on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics organised by the Machine Intelligence Research Group (MIRG) of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) recently at the institution’s Tayo Adeinokun hall.

“I stand before you today with an unwavering sense of purpose and excitement as we delve into the transformative realms of AI and Blockchain for the sustainable development of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs),” he said.

In addition, he said; “As we embrace the digital future, AI is proving to be a formidable force, with projections indicating a substantial global revenue of $134.8 billion by 2025.

The McKinsey Global Survey 2023 underscores the resilience of AI adoption, even in challenging economic climates. For Africa, AI promises to contribute a staggering $1.5 trillion to the economy by 2030, as projected by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC).”

Folasade Ogunsola, vice-chancellor of round University of Lagos (UNILAG) ably represented by Ayodele Atsenuwa, the deputy vice-chancellor in charge of development services in her opening remarks said academic conferences have been one of the avenues for intellectual discourse, presentation of novel research results, the introduction of new research areas, the emergence of new research topics, and bonding of a community of practice and co-creation of new knowledge through constructive criticism, among others.

“Today, as a new and much-needed trend, academic conferences have become an avenue to bring together researchers, the industry and the government for creating sustainable synergy for knowledge dissemination and uptake as well as providing evidence-based data and information to guide policy formulation and review,” she noted.

Victor Odumuyiwa, ICAIR 2023 conference chairman said that in a world marked by rapid technological advancement, the intersection of AI and robotics presents unprecedented opportunities for the empowerment and development of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Odumuyiwa maintains that the conference was a platform for collaborative dialogue, knowledge exchange, and exploration of round gritty ideas that will undoubtedly shape the future of our economic landscape.

“As a nation, we missed out in the first, second, and third industrial revolutions, we cannot afford to take the back seat in the fourth industrial revolution,” he said.

Thuweba Diwani, commission manager at GIZ/Digital Transformation Centre Nigeria pointed out that the conference discussions are not merely about the exchange of ideas but are a catalyst for the transformation of economies and societies.

“Artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies are at the forefront of this revolution. They can potentially revolutionise how MSMEs operate, bringing about efficiencies, transparency, and sustainability.

However, to unlock this potential, we must leverage the collective intelligence of academia and the practical insights of the innovation ecosystem players.

These cutting-edge technologies bring robustness into solving the numerous challenges of businesses such as security, data privacy, compliance, automation, business intelligence, and payment authentication among others,” she said.

Diwani explained that the centre supports the digital transformation of Nigeria’s economy by fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

“DTC Nigeria seeks to enhance the innovation ecosystem in key areas, including policy implementation, organisational performance, scalable digital solutions, and digital skills development for women and youth.

Research and academia collaboration on research and development as an innovation input according to the Global Innovation Index ranks Nigeria at 109th of 132 countries.

Read also: Blockchain Revolution: The origin story

With such low innovation input performance, there is a need to inject robust and strategic interventions to support ongoing efforts of A&R institutions in Nigeria to close the gap,” Diwani said.

According to her, Nigeria is one of Africa’s leading producers of scientific research in all fields. However, there is a breakage in its translation into productive innovation.

“It is, therefore, DTC Nigeria’s commitment to develop initiatives that facilitate the deployment of digital solutions by MSMEs within a structured process that ensures that the benefits of research and academia are not confined to the ivory towers but are disseminated and applied where they are needed the most—within the fabric of our economic enterprises.”

Dignitaries at the conference include Bola Oboh, deputy vice-chancellor in charge of academic and research, Elijah Oyeyemi, dean of science, at UNILAG, and Adetunji Philip-Adewole, head of the department of Computer Sciences, among others