top of page

Nigeria to Establish Nationwide AI and Blockchain Research Centers

The Nigerian government’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has announced plans to establish research centers focusing on emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain, across the country’s six geopolitical zones.

NITDA’s Director-General, Kashifu Inuwa, revealed the initiative during the IoT West Africa Conference and Exhibition in Lagos. Represented by Aristotle Onumo, Director of Corporate Planning and Strategy at NITDA, Inuwa emphasized the agency's dedication to fostering a robust technology research ecosystem.

These planned research centers will target critical areas such as IoT, blockchain technology, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), additive manufacturing, AI, and robotics. Inuwa stated:

“We are establishing a special-purpose vehicle to focus on these key areas and set up research centers across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones to address these emerging technologies.”

NITDA also aims to support Nigerian startups in developing products using these technologies. The agency plans to create innovation sandboxes to help startups develop use cases, establish businesses, and bring their products to market.

In addition to funding research, NITDA plays a crucial role in building talent through the Nigerian government’s 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT) program, which aims to technically train and empower three million Nigerians by 2027. Inuwa acknowledged that some trained individuals might leave the country, contributing to Nigeria’s talent exports and boosting foreign exchange through increased remittances.

Shitij Taneja, managing director of Vertex Next, the organizers of the IoT West Africa Conference and Exhibition, highlighted Nigeria’s potential as “Africa’s next Silicon Valley,” citing the country’s vast youth population and vibrant startup ecosystem as key factors. The conference, co-located with the Africa Data Center and Cloud Expo Africa, aims to attract investors to Nigerian startups focused on emerging technologies.

Additionally, the United States and Nigeria have recently announced plans to engage in discussions on the digital economy, emerging technology, and AI to explore potential partnership opportunities. These discussions aim to strengthen economic ties between the two countries and foster deeper collaborations in these areas.

In a bid to take a leadership position in AI development in Africa, the Nigerian government has also launched its first multilingual large language model.


bottom of page