The Nigerian government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Uniccon Group of Companies through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to foster the development of local contents in the country’s technology industry.
Uniccon unveiled Africa’s first humanoid robot, Omeife, last year to cause a global stir and opened a pathway for advanced robotic engineering and use of emerging technologies including AI within the African sphere.
With the MoU, NITDA and Uniccon will collaborate to promote local content in Nigeria through various initiatives including capacity building, skills development and the creation of an enabling environment for local content producers and developers across diverse tech fields.
The partnership will also focus on supporting local startups and SMEs in the technology industry, providing them with access to funding, mentorship, and other forms of support that will enable them to grow and compete on a global scale.
“We plan to have an application that everyone can use to take advantage of Omeife. At NITDA, we have the Learning Management System (LMS) for a long time, and can be integrated into API provided by the Unicorn group, thereby extending our elements to take advantage of it,” said Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, even as he that during the unveiling of “Omeife” last December by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami urged the IT regulatory and development agency to work with Uniccon on ways to commercialise Omeife.
“Leveraging on Omeife robot will deepen the penetration of digital literacy across the country, providing platform for shared knowledge in Pidgin, Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba. This will provide a framework and platform for exposure of Nigeria’s indigenous content internationally.
“Our greatest dream is to nurture startups and companies that will occupy the global space and also be as competitive as possible for the growth of the economy.
“Digital Economy is a great alternative to oil, which serves as a means of income and an opportunity for us to compete because the entry-level is intellect and we have a lot of that across the country,” added Abdullahi. He was represented by NITDA’s Head of Legal Unit, Emmanuel Edet.
According to Chairman/CEO of Uniccon Group, Mr. Chuks Ekwueme, AI related projects in Africa remain critical to enlisting the continent among countries that are 4IR-ready. He said the statistics show that no African country can boast of having 60% AI by 2030, with most countries falling below this percentage, “therefore the signing of the MoU is a crucial step towards bridging this gap and positioning Nigeria as a leader in AI development.”
He assured of his company’s support for government’s policies and initiatives at driving tech growth across sectors.