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Nigerian gov supports AI initiatives with $290K in grants

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The Nigerian Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, revealed on Friday, Oct.13, that the government intends to grant 5 million naira ($6,444) to 45 artificial intelligence (AI)-focused startups and researchers.

This initiative was disclosed by the minister in a post on X (formerly Twitter) and is part of the recently introduced Nigeria Artificial Intelligence Research Scheme, which is designed to facilitate the widespread utilization of AI to drive economic advancement.

As outlined on the scheme’s official website, the focus areas include agriculture, education and workforce, finance, governance, healthcare, utility and sustainability. To be eligible for a grant, applicants must form a consortium comprising a startup or tech company, a researcher from a Nigerian university or a foreign researcher, according to the ministry.

Applicants should present a research proposal aligned with the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy’s AI focus areas. Furthermore, they must provide a comprehensive proposal highlighting the project’s potential economic impact in Nigeria.

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Applicants must have a proven track record of excellence in research or entrepreneurship and are expected to publish at least one peer-reviewed article within one year of receiving the grant.

In August, the Nigerian government extended an invitation to scientists of Nigerian heritage, as well as globally renowned experts who have worked within the Nigerian market, to collaborate in formulating its National Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

The application period commences on Oct.13, 2023, and concludes on Nov. 15, 2023. The ministry has indicated that a panel of AI specialists will assess the proposals.

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