The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, says with Artificial Intelligence (AI) Africa can overcome challenges of poverty, food insecurity, and healthcare, among others.
Speaking at an event in Abuja, Danbatta said: In recent years, there have been remarkable advancements with AI across various sectors, including healthcare, agriculture, finance, transportation, education, and governance.
The NCC boss added that “AI-powered solutions have the potential to 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. In Nigeria, as of July 2023, the broadband penetration stood at 47.01%”.
According to him, 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 need to 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.”
Danbatta added that ethical considerations must underpin the approach to AI as its systems are deployed, adding that transparency, accountability, and fairness must be ensured.
Written by: Elizabeth David