Nigeria to focus on Blockchain and emerging tech with plans to deploy research centers 

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in Nigeria is looking to deploy research centers geared towards emerging technologies like Blockchain.

The initiative was announced by the NITDA’s Director-General, Kashifu Inuw, at the IoT West Africa Conference in Lagos. 

According to the director general, the research centers will focus on key technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), additive manufacturing, and robotics alongside blockchain tech.

The entities would be deployed across “six geo-political zones of Nigeria,” as per Inuwa.

Besides establishing these research units, the government would also aid Nigerian startups in scaling product development using these technologies. In this regard, innovation sandboxes would be leveraged to develop use cases and ultimately introduce these products to the market.

Amidst this backdrop, the NITDA has been training the nation’s populace via its 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT) program. By 2027, the government plans to equip three million Nigerians with the necessary skills to bolster its current initiatives.

As a broader implication, Inuwa expects a boost in foreign exchange remittances as individuals trained via these initiatives leave the country.

Shitij Taneja, managing director of Vertex Next, the organizers of the IoT West Africa conference, called Nigeria “Africa’s next Silicon Valley.” He believes that Nigeria’s large youth population and its dynamic startup ecosystem position it as a leading force.

“The reason we are hosting the IoT West Africa, which is co-located with Africa data center and cloud Expo Africa is because we see a lot of potential in the market and the growing number of youths that are working towards the development of technology.”

Taneja added that the conference also seeks to draw investors towards Nigerian startups.

Nigeria’s growing focus on emerging technologies has been quite evident over the past months. In May, the NITDA restructured the National Blockchain Policy Steering Committee (NBPSC) in a move to facilitate better implementation of its National Blockchain Policy.

The nation is also eyeing potential collaboration with the United States of America to explore the potential of AI and other emerging technologies. This is despite the nation’s recent legal tensions with the economic powerhouse involving a detained executive of crypto exchange Binance.

Per the Blockchain Industry Coordinating Committee of Nigeria (BICCoN), a blockchain advocacy group, this development could lead to fragmented relations with global partners.

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