On Friday, October 13, the Nigerian Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, unveiled a bold initiative aimed at fostering innovation in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI). Under the newly introduced Nigeria Artificial Intelligence Research Scheme, the government plans to distribute a total of 5 million naira (approximately $6,444) among 45 promising AI-focused startups and researchers.
Minister Tijani shared this exciting news via a post on X (formerly Twitter), outlining the government’s commitment to harnessing AI technology to propel economic progress. The initiative, guided by the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, is set to transform various sectors crucial to Nigeria’s development.
Nigeria’s AI Grant Initiative Setting the Path for Technological Advancement
The scheme’s official website details the key focus areas, which span agriculture, education, finance, governance, healthcare, utility, and sustainability. To qualify for the grant, applicants must form a consortium comprising a startup or tech company, along with a researcher from a university in the country or an international expert. Their research proposals must align with the ministry’s AI focus areas, emphasizing the potential economic impact on Nigeria.
Notably, applicants are required to demonstrate a proven track record of excellence in research or entrepreneurship. Additionally, recipients of the grant are expected to publish at least one peer-reviewed article within a year, showcasing the depth of their contributions to the field of AI.
This initiative follows the government’s call in August, inviting scientists of Nigerian heritage and globally recognized experts with experience in the Nigerian market to collaborate on the formulation of the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy. The application period for the grant initiative commenced on October 13, 2023, and will run until November 15, 2023. A distinguished panel of AI specialists will meticulously assess the proposals, selecting the most promising projects that align with the country’s vision for technological advancement.