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Digital Economy: Our vision is to create community of AI developers in Nigeria –NITDA

Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General of NITDA, Receiving an Award by NAIDT Participants During a Courtesy Call by Trained AI Developers, in Abuja, FCT        Photo: NITDA

*Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, explains the ‘ambitious vision’ of the agency is to create a community of Artificial Intelligence developers in Nigeria, where people can learn and teach others, or start their businesses to impact the society positively

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

In a bold move towards shaping the future of technology, Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has said the IT regulatory agency has an ambitious vision to produce a thriving community of Artificial Intelligence (AI) developers in the country.

NITDA noted Inuwa disclosed this while receiving instructors and some beneficiaries of NITDA AI Developers Training (NAIDT) on a thank-you visit to the Agency’s Headquarters in Abuja, FCT.

The agency said the visiting team was at NITDA to present to him an award for outstanding dedication and immense support for the training project.

It is also noted that NITDA organised the training programme through National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), in conjunction with Google Developers Group (GDG).

The programme has created instructors, startups, and secured job opportunities for participants, the agency stated.

NAIDT records 1,227 beneficiaries across 10 Cohorts

Besides, the programme recorded 1,227 beneficiaries across 10 Cohorts that had series of coaching and lectures to develop programming skills in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Inuwa further disclosed that NITDA had achieved its objective during the pilot project in Abuja, and this feat would be extended to other states of the Federation.

NITDA’s vision is to build a community of AI developers, says Inuwa

Inuwa stressed the vision of the agency is to create a community of developers around the country where people can come and learn, and after that, they can teach others or start their businesses and impact society.

The Director-General asserted “I believe we can start with three states this year, then strategise on how we can take it to other states; and with time, extend it to local governments.

“This is driven by my firm belief that in Nigeria, our most valuable asset as a nation is our human capital.”

Inuwa stated: “I want to know how many people participated, and how many females, to ensure gender balance, and I want to know those who have started businesses from this training, and who are making money.

He noted doing this would help us to mentor others.

“The idea is not just to train people, but after training, to connect them with jobs or to inspire and mentor them to start their own businesses.”

Digitising Nigerian Government services for consumers 

The NAIDT platform can be used to create indigenous super apps, such as generative AI and language modelling, then a Proof-of-Concept (POC), can be done with NITDA and then escalated government-wide, said Inuwa.

The NITDA Chief added: “This is because the government is also pushing for digitisation.

“Digitising government services will help the government save a lot of costs as well as improve the efficiency of service delivery.”

In his earlier remarks, Engr. Ya’u Garba, National Director of NCAIR, noted that the project originated from a directive by the Director-General a year ago.

Garba recalled the directive was to initiate the training of a million developers under the theme: Learn, Teach, and Earn.

According to him, Inuwa has “generously provided honorariums on a monthly basis to each cohort participating in the programme.

Engr. Garba revealed that there were three levels of training: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced.

“In the basics, we teach them what is necessary to become a good programmer, so we teach them Python; of course, you know Python is the language science.

“After that, most of them come back for the intermediate, where they are equipped with the necessary skills to start their journey in the IT world,” he explained.

The NCAIR National Director said: “Then, we have the advance, which is problem-based for people that want to move forward.”

Likewise, Mr. Ibrahim Bright Muhammed, a representative of the Google Developers Group (GDG), appreciated Inuwa and NITDA for their unwavering support throughout the training programme.

Muhammed affirmed  that the “the environment is very conducive, with very good Internet.”

Training beneficiaries relate experiences 

The agency as well stated the beneficiaries, who shared their experiences expressed gratitude to NITDA for the valuable opportunity that has greatly enriched their lives through the programme.

It is also noted that a number of them have transitioned from being trainees to becoming trainers themselves.

The agency said the shift not only instilled a sense of achievement in them but provides them with the satisfaction of witnessing those mentored effectively applying the knowledge they have acquired.

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