The Nigerian government, through its National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has unveiled plans to establish research centers focused on cutting-edge technologies across the country’s six geopolitical zones. These centers will prioritize advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain technology, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The announcement, made by NITDA’s Director-General, Kashifu Inuwa, during the IoT West Africa Conference in Lagos, highlights the government’s commitment to fostering a robust technology ecosystem within Nigeria. These research centers aim to not only drive innovation in AI, blockchain, and IoT but also empower Nigerian startups to develop products based on these technologies.

A crucial element of this initiative is the “3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT)” program, another government endeavor. This program seeks to train and equip three million Nigerians with technical skills by 2027. The skilled workforce nurtured through 3MTT will provide a strong talent pool for the research centers and the broader Nigerian tech sector.

Furthermore, NITDA plans to create “innovation sandboxes” alongside the research centers. These sandboxes will function as supportive environments where startups can develop practical applications for the technologies explored in the research centers. This will not only bridge the gap between theoretical research and real-world implementation but also accelerate the commercialization of innovative tech solutions.

The establishment of these research centers signifies Nigeria’s ambition to become a leader in AI and blockchain development in Africa. The focus on IoT additionally opens doors for advancements in smart cities, connected infrastructure, and efficient resource management. With a skilled workforce and a supportive ecosystem, Nigeria is poised to make significant strides in the technological landscape.