From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communications Commission, (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta says Artificial Intelligence has the potential to address some of Africa’s most pressing problems, including infrastructure, healthcare, food security, and financial inclusion.

Danbatta stated this at the 11th Edition of the Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition (DACE), held in Abuja on Tuesday.

The EVC however, noted that, for Africa to fully embrace the benefits of AI, it must first address several critical factors.

He said the continent must expand its broadband connectivity, ensure reliable power supply and foster a conducive regulatory environment.

He noted that collaboration and partnerships were also crucial in unlocking the potential of AI in Africa.

“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.” he stated.

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He also advised that the continent’s approach to AI must be guided by ethical considerations, adding that that openness, accountability, and justice be ensured in its application.

“We must guard against biases, protect privacy and data security, and uphold human rights. AI should be a force for good, promoting inclusivity and leaving no one behind.

“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” He declared.

Also speaking, Chairman, Digital Africa, Dr. Evans Woherem, Chairman, Digital Africa said emerging technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial intelligence driverless vehicles and cloud computing, were very important technologies that are going to determine the countries that will be winners in this 21st century.

According to Woherem, AI is one of those technologies that must be paid attention to.

He explained that Digital Africa was working to ensure that Africa bridged the gap between itself and the rest of the world in the area of technology.

“Those of you who have been following what I say, will know that I have always maintained that there was a time Africa was leading the whole world in the area of technology, but, after some years, as a result of so many things that happened to her: slavery, colonialism, it has been unfortunate to have had some series of leaders that did not see the urgency in regards to development.

“As a result of that, we have underperformed all these years but many of us are pointing out that the gap can be bridged, and we can only do so through technology, and AI is one of those technologies we just have to pay attention to,” he asserted.