Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), emphasized that Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered solutions have the potential to address some of Africa’s most critical challenges, including limited access to healthcare, food security, financial inclusion, and infrastructure development,leadership reports.
Danbatta pointed out that for Africa to fully harness the benefits of AI, the continent must address several crucial factors, including the investment in the development of essential digital infrastructure. He made these remarks during the 11th Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition held in Abuja, with the theme: “Artificial Intelligence and Africa.”
He noted that Africa has witnessed significant advancements in AI across various sectors, including healthcare, agriculture, finance, transportation, education, and governance. However, to unlock AI’s full potential, Africa must commit to ensuring a reliable power supply and creating a conducive regulatory environment. Without robust infrastructure, AI’s potential will remain untapped, and the digital divide will continue to widen.
Danbatta stressed the importance of prioritizing digital skills development, as AI technologies require a skilled workforce capable of developing, deploying, and maintaining these systems. He emphasized the need to invest in education and training programs to equip the youth with the necessary skills to participate in the AI-driven economy.
Furthermore, Danbatta highlighted the significance of collaboration and partnerships in unlocking AI’s potential in Africa. He urged governments, regulatory bodies, academia, the private sector, and civil society to work together to share knowledge, pool resources, and leverage expertise to drive innovation and create an enabling environment for AI adoption.
Danbatta also reaffirmed the Nigerian Communications Commission’s commitment to supporting the development and deployment of AI technologies in Nigeria and across the continent. The Commission is actively working on creating a regulatory framework that promotes innovation while safeguarding the interests of consumers and citizens.
Dr. Evans Woherem, the Chairman of Digital Africa, echoed the timeliness and importance of the conference’s theme, noting that the world is in the era of the fourth Industrial Revolution, characterized by intelligence. He emphasized that AI is at the core of this new industrial revolution, offering substantial benefits but also posing potential risks. Countries cannot afford to ignore AI and must take it seriously by allocating budgets and implementing regulatory measures for its development and implementation.