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Nigeria’s Approach to Building Innovative Tech Solutions to Address Pressing National Problems

The country’s new digital economy minister is seeking out the country’s top artificial intelligence researchers as part of a process of developing a national AI strategy. Bosun Tijani published an initial list of 100 people of Nigerian descent sourced from a search for researchers published in supposed international AI journals and sifted for citation count and experience by machine learning algorithms. The move, which some have questioned for prioritizing academic researchers over private sector AI practitioners, is one of Tijani’s first acts since his appointment to oversee Nigeria’s technology sector. In the whitepaper shared by the minister on social media, the Federal Government noted that AI has become a multi-purpose X (formally known as Twitter technology transforming production and service delivery with the potential to significantly impact economic growth and social progress. According to the document, recent research showed that AI could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by the year 2030 with $3 trillion from increased productivity and $9.1 trillion from new products and services (PwC, 2018).