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Prioritize tech in Africa–Bosun Tijani

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By Abraham Adekunle

Communications minister says Africa needs it to be competitive and to develop.

In a recent interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, stressed the critical importance of prioritizing digital technology to ensure Africa’s competitiveness and facilitate developmental leapfrogging. Tijani, who hails from Nigeria, highlighted the ongoing efforts in his country to apply digital innovations across various sectors, revolutionizing how people live and conduct business. Tijani emphasized the transformative power of digital technologies, stating, “The sort of digital technologies that are truly making digital innovations possible today are what is responsible for the digital revolution.”

He underscored the need for African nations to embrace digital technology to leapfrog development, enhance competitiveness, and diversify their economies. Discussing Nigeria’s economic landscape, Tijani pointed out the aggressive push towards increasing productivity in the agricultural sector. He outlined President Bola Tinubu’s vision of cultivating half a million acres of land but emphasized the necessity of applying digital technology to modernize traditional methods. According to Tijani, digital technology is a catalyst for change in sectors like agriculture, enabling increased efficiency and productivity.

Minister comments on Africa’s position in the AI landscape.

The minister further delved into the role of digital technology in transforming education. Recognizing the need to improve the quality of education in Nigeria and other African countries, Tijani stressed the importance of reimagining how technology is integrated into the educational system. He outlined potential applications, such as supporting teachers to deliver better education and providing technology-enabled learning opportunities for students, even when they are at home. Tijani expressed optimism about the significant opportunities that digital technology presents for Africa to bring about lasting change. He highlighted the potential for technology to address longstanding challenges and contribute to sustainable development across various sectors.

Acknowledging that Africa has been somewhat late to the game in terms of artificial intelligence (AI), Tijani pointed out the lack of significant investments in the scientific breakthroughs that led to development. However, he emphasized the abundance of talent in the continent, particularly a youthful population with a substantial number of digital natives. The minister recognized the need for African nations, including Nigeria, to catch up in the field of AI. He outlined efforts to reimagine the country’s AI strategy, involving collaboration with various stakeholders to understand the technology, establish the right governance structures, and create an environment conducive to the application of AI in solving significant problems.

FG’s role in AI development, addressing risks and safeguarding society.

Tijani stressed the pivotal role of the government in fostering the growth of AI. He highlighted the need for a comprehensive strategy that goes beyond governance and includes initiatives to apply AI in public health. The minister recognized the importance of supporting startups and the private sector while emphasizing the necessity of government intervention to create an ecosystem that enables the widespread application. In discussing the application of AI, Tijani highlighted the government’s awareness of the associated risks, safety concerns, and ethical considerations. He emphasized the importance of global collaboration in governing this new technology, acknowledging that policies developed at a national level might not be sufficient due to the global nature of technological advancements.

Also, the minister revealed that the Nigerian government is investing in research to better understand how AI should be applied. Tijani emphasized the importance of striking a balance, ensuring that regulations are in place to safeguard society without stifling innovation and the beneficial application of artificial intelligence. Tijani stressed the need for widespread understanding of AI across the entire government, not limited to the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy. He emphasized the importance of mainstreaming knowledge to ensure that all government departments are well-informed about the technology and its implications. This holistic approach, according to Tijani, is crucial for creating a supportive environment for the responsible development and application.

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Bosun Tijani painted a picture of a vibrant and dynamic future for Africa, driven by the transformative power of digital technology. From agriculture to education and the adoption of artificial intelligence, Tijani emphasized that Africa has a unique opportunity to leverage technology for widespread development. The minister’s insights shed light on the ongoing efforts in Nigeria and other African nations to position themselves at the forefront of the digital revolution, emphasizing the importance of strategic planning, collaboration, and a forward-thinking approach to technology adoption. As Africa navigates the evolving landscape of digital innovation, the continent stands poised to harness the full potential of technology for sustainable and inclusive growth.


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AN-Toni
Editor
1 month ago

Prioritize tech in Africa–Bosun Tijani.Communications minister says Africa needs it to be competitive and to develop. – Express your point of view.

Adeoye Adegoke
Member
1 month ago

I completely agree with the statement that prioritizing technology in Africa is crucial for the continent’s competitiveness and development. Technology has the power to transform economies, improve access to education and healthcare, and drive innovation.
By investing in technology infrastructure and fostering a supportive ecosystem for tech startups and businesses, Africa can unlock its full potential. It can create opportunities for job creation, attract foreign investments, and bridge the digital divide that exists in many parts of the continent.
Moreover, technology can play a significant role in addressing some of the pressing challenges faced by Africa, such as healthcare accessibility, agriculture productivity, and financial inclusion. It can enable the development of innovative solutions that cater to the specific needs of African communities.
To prioritize tech in Africa, collaboration between the government, private sector, and educational institutions is essential. This includes investing in digital skills training, promoting research and development, and creating an enabling regulatory environment that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship.

Taiwo
Member
1 month ago

Put technology first in Africa, says Bosun Tijani. Africa needs it to grow and remain competitive, according to the ministry of communications. Like the Minister of Technology, I think so. Technology in Africa needs to be prioritized, and we must come up with fresh concepts that encourage the continent’s technical progress.

Kazeem1
Member
1 month ago

digital technology as a top priority to maintain Africa’s competitiveness and enable developmental leapfrogging Technology can significantly contribute to resolving some of the urgent issues by funding technological infrastructure and creating an environment that is supportive of tech startups and enterprises.

SarahDiv
Member
1 month ago

Bosun Tijani’s call to prioritize digital technology resonates with the aspirations of many Nigerians. Embracing tech can boost competitiveness and drive development across sectors like agriculture and education. His insights on AI highlight the need for strategic government involvement, addressing risks, and fostering global collaboration. As a Nigerian, I see this as a positive step towards a tech-driven and inclusive future for Africa.