Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for Inclusive Economic Growth in Africa


  • AI in Africa faces challenges but holds vast economic potential. Adoption needs technical skills.
  • Economic and legal challenges in Africa impact AI system benefits.
  • AI benefits include task automation, data analysis, and medical diagnosis.

On September 24, 2023, at the 11th edition of the Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition (DACE) held at the REIZ Continental Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), made a significant declaration regarding the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Africa’s development. In a formal and authoritative manner, Danbatta reiterated NCC’s commitment to leveraging AI technology to drive economic growth, social development, and innovation across the African continent.

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During his speech, Dr. Emilia Nwokolo, Head of Consumer Information and Education at NCC, represented Danbatta and emphasized the remarkable advancements witnessed in AI across various sectors, including healthcare, agriculture, finance, transportation, education, and governance. AI-powered solutions were highlighted as having the potential to address critical challenges in Africa, such as limited access to healthcare, food security, financial inclusion, and infrastructure development.

Danbatta stressed the need to address crucial factors for Africa to fully embrace AI benefits. Firstly, he called for investments in building essential digital infrastructure, including expanding broadband connectivity. He noted that as of July 2023, Nigeria’s broadband penetration stood at 47.01 percent. Additionally, Danbatta urged the continent to ensure a reliable power supply and foster a conducive regulatory environment, emphasizing that without robust infrastructure, AI’s potential would remain untapped, and the digital divide would widen.

Furthermore, the NCC CEO highlighted the importance of a skilled workforce in AI technologies. He advocated for investment in education and training programs to equip African youth with the necessary skills to participate in the AI-driven economy. By nurturing a generation of AI experts, Africa could elevate its position in the global AI landscape and create job opportunities for its youth.

AI Education Initiatives in Africa

The theme of Artificial Intelligence and Africa revolved around offering Africans a glimpse into the immense possibilities that lie ahead. Danbatta emphasized that AI holds the power to transform societies, drive economic growth, and improve the well-being of Africans. He called upon Africans to seize this opportunity and work together to build an inclusive, sustainable, and AI-powered Africa.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, declared the NCC’s commitment to leveraging AI technology for Africa’s development at the 11th Digital Africa Conference. This commitment includes addressing infrastructure, power supply, and workforce development to harness AI’s potential for economic growth and social progress in Africa.

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Editah Patrick

Editah is a versatile fintech analyst with a deep understanding of blockchain domains. As much as technology fascinates her, she finds the intersection of both technology and finance mind-blowing. Her particular interest in digital wallets and blockchain aids her audience.

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