Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has highlighted the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which he called one of the most consequential technologies in recent time.
He stated this at the opening ceremony of the 11th edition of the Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition (DACE) on Tuesday at the Reiz Continental Hotel in Abuja.
The conference themed: “Artificial Intelligence and Africa,” reflected the continent’s commitment to leveraging technology for economic growth, social development, and innovation.
The NCC Boss represented by Head of Consumer Information and Education, Dr. Emilia Nwokolo also noted the various ways that AI was already being used in our daily lives, including voice assistants, face recognition, and machine learning-based financial fraud detection.
Moreover, he cited several examples of AI’s potential to improve healthcare, food security, financial inclusion, and infrastructure development, all of which are critical challenges in Africa.
He argued that for the continent to fully realize the benefits of AI, it needs to address several critical factors.
Firstly, there needs to be a massive investment in building the necessary digital infrastructure, including expanding broadband connectivity. In Nigeria, broadband penetration as of July 2023 was 47.01%.
Secondly, there is a need to prioritize digital skills development. AI technologies require a skilled workforce capable of developing, deploying, and maintaining these systems. Education and training programs should be provided that equip youth with the necessary skills to participate in the AI-driven economy.
He also made a case for ethical considerations when developing AI systems, to ensure transparency, accountability, and fairness. The Nigerian Communications Commission is fully committed to supporting the development and deployment of AI technologies in Nigeria and across the continent.
In conclusion, the Nigerian Communications Commission is committed to driving digital transformation in Nigeria and throughout Africa.
The theme of this year’s conference, “Artificial Intelligence and Africa,” highlights the immense possibilities that lie ahead and advances the role of AI in driving economic growth, promoting inclusivity, and improving societal well-being in Africa.