National Artificial Intelligence Policy nears completion as DG NITDA disbands volunteer group


By Ibiyemi Mathew

The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Mallam Kashifu Inuwa has disclosed that the National Artificial Intelligence Policy is nearing completion for publication.

The DG disclosed this at the final Volunteer Expert Group (VEG) meeting held virtually yesterday.

The DG expressed his gratitude to the group for their exceptional work in developing the National Artificial Intelligence Policy for Nigeria.

“On 11th August, 2022, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) issued a call for expressions of interest to participate in the policy development process. We received an overwhelming response from subject matter experts in Nigeria and abroad. Based on this call, we selected sixty-three experts to form the Volunteer Expert Group (VEG) from the three hundred and fifty-one applications received.

“I am aware that you (VEG) have been incredibly committed and dedicated to this task, from the first meeting held on 19th October, 2022, where the group was inaugurated and seven thematic clusters were formed, to the final meeting held today, 7th March 2023. I am aware you held over eight virtual meetings and several sub-meetings outside the general meetings to enable you to deliver on the task within the agreed timeline.

“Your commitment has been instrumental in developing this robust draft policy covering seven major areas. Firstly, Education and Research; secondly, Finance; thirdly, Health; fourthly, Media and Telecommunications; fifthly, Labour and Productivity; sixthly, General and Special Issues (such as building safe and responsible AI, ensuring Nigerian culture and values are digitally visible); and lastly, but not the list, Security. I must applaud your outstanding work ethic and professionalism in developing this policy. The dedication and hard work exhibited by each of you have been remarkable, and I cannot thank you enough,” the DG said.

Speaking further, Kashifu emphasised the value the agency places on partnerships to achieve a common goal.

He said their partnership with the agency has helped the agency to develop a National Artificial Intelligence Policy for Nigeria that will guide the development and deployment of AI in the country, positioning us to create and capture value from AI adoption while avoiding its perils.

“At NITDA, co-creation is at the heart of everything we do. We strongly believe that there are things we can do as a government you cannot do as an ecosystem, and there are things you can do as an ecosystem and we cannot do as a government, but together we can achieve greater things. That is why we initiated the process of developing this policy using you as VEG, and your commitment has been instrumental in achieving this goal,” He said.

According to Kashifu, “The NITDA Secretariat will now take over and continue working on the document’s design to get it ready for publication.”