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Nigeria Launches First Multilingual AI Language Model, Accelerates National AI Strategy

In a significant stride towards establishing Nigeria’s leadership in Artificial Intelligence (AI) development across Africa, the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, has unveiled the country’s first Multilingual Large Language Model (LLM). This groundbreaking announcement was made on Friday by the Communications Minister, Dr. Bosun Tijani, following the successful conclusion of a four-day AI workshop held in Abuja.

The LLM was developed through a collaborative effort involving a Nigerian AI company, Awarritech, a global tech firm, DataDotOrg, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and the National Centre for AI and Robotics (NCAIR). Notably, the LLM will be trained on five low-resource languages and accented English, ensuring stronger language representation in existing datasets for the development of AI solutions. Furthermore, the project will be supported by over 7,000 fellows from the 3MTT Nigeria program.

In addition to the LLM launch, the Minister disclosed several other significant developments and partnerships aimed at accelerating Nigeria’s AI journey. Firstly, the initial draft of the country’s National AI Strategy was formulated during the four-day co-creation workshop attended by over 120 AI experts. This strategy will serve as a roadmap for Nigeria’s AI development.

Furthermore, a partnership between 21st Century Technologies, Galaxy Backbone, and NCAIR Nigeria was announced, focusing on accelerating the development of AI projects of national interest. As part of this collaboration, 21st Century Technology is funding the acquisition of an initial set of GPUs to kickstart Nigeria’s national computing capacity, which will be housed at the Galaxy Backbone Data Centre in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This computing power will be made available to local researchers, startups, and government entities working on critical AI projects.

Moreover, the NCAIR, a specialized vehicle created to promote research and development on emerging technologies such as AI, Robotics, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and the Internet of Things (IoT), was relaunched. With enhanced capacity, NCAIR will better fulfill its mandate as a digital innovation and research facility, driving practical applications of these technologies in areas of national interest for Nigeria.

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