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Inside the first public sector driven Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Nigeria

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The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, last Friday (13th November 2020), commissioned the country’s first (National) Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Abuja.

In his address, Dr Pantami recalled that the journey to digitalise Nigeria began with the President’s approval to include the Digital Economy mandate under the Ministry’s purview.

This, he noted, necessitated the birth of a National Economic Development Policy and Strategy document (NEDPS) which has become the foundation for implementing the Digital Nigeria Agenda.

“The global paradigm shift from mere paper qualifications to proven skills, particularly digital skills, has necessitated the establishment of a high tech skill acquisition centre such as this. The Centre will serve as a leading hub of innovation, research and development, knowledge transfer and training in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics and other emerging technologies.  In addition, the Centre will also create a vision for AI, develop an AI Ecosystem, support data stewardship while providing access to specialized technical skills in the country,” he said.

Also, the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Malam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, challenged the youths to take advantage of the initiatives and strategies deployed by government particularly in the digital economy sector to empower themselves so as to take their place on the global stage.

So, what can one find at the centre?

Interestingly, the Centre is the first public sector driven facility of this kind in Nigeria. TechEconomy.ng found that equipment you can find at the Centre include;

training facilities, 3D Printers, co-working space for start-ups, a digital innovation laboratory, Makerspace and fabrication laboratory infrastructure, and printed circuit board facilities.

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It also houses the offices of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT – REAP) and the Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE) NITDA’s subsidiary arm for Innovation.

Here are photographs of the brief tour of the facility:

The building:

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The training/MIT Reap Abuja office space –

Training Lab:

Facilities: 

A tour of the facilities by guests at the unveiling ceremony led by Dr. Isa Pantami

Demo session by Coderina

Facts about Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

1. 64% Of Workers Trust A Robot More Than Their Manager (according to Forbes). 

2. According to Loup Ventures research, the industrial robotics market is expected to grow by 175%over the next decade.

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3. In fact, the same Loup report states that 34%of the industrial robots sold by 2025 will be collaborative – designed to work safely alongside humans in factories and plants.

4. ABI Research predictsthe collaborative robotics market will surge to $1 billion in total revenue by 2020, with over 40,000 cobots entering the industry.

5. Through a partnership with Locus Robotics, DHL expects to improve efficiencyand productivity for their order fulfillment process. They expect the new system to improve picker speed, decrease rates of failure, and improve the overall efficiency of their supply chain.

6. According to an analysis byDeutsche Bank, Amazon’s cobots have reduced its operating expenses by 20%, and adding them to newly opened warehouses saves as much as $22 million in fulfillment costs each time.

7. One of the most prominent electronics and component manufacturers in the world, Foxconn, has converted 60,000 jobs into automated ones.

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