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IMF Highlights Nigeria and Other Developing Countries’ Lack of Digital Infrastructure for AI

IMF Highlights Nigeria and Other Developing Countries’ Lack of Digital Infrastructure for AI

A new report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revealed that Nigeria and some other developing countries lack digital infrastructure for the deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. 

This is despite the fact that Nigeria recently unveiled its AI strategy and also launched its first Multilingual Large Language Model (LLM) in April.  

IMF disclosed this in its new ‘AI Preparedness Index’ where it tracks 174 economies based on their digital infrastructure, human capital, labour policies, innovation, integration, and regulation. According to the report, most developing economies are lagging in the area of digital infrastructure for AI and are the least prepared for the technology. 

The interactive map for the Index shows that most African countries, except Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa, have little preparedness and are marked yellow, while the countries with substantial preparedness are marked in blue.  

Global inequality 

While noting that wealthier economies tend to be better equipped for AI adoption than low-income countries, the IMF said AI may further worsen the inequality that already exists in the world.  

“Under most scenarios, AI will likely worsen overall inequality, a troubling trend that policymakers can work to prevent. To this end, the dashboard is a response to significant interest from our stakeholders in accessing the index.  

“It is a resource for policymakers, researchers, and the public to better assess the AI preparedness and, importantly, to identify the actions and design the policies needed to help ensure that the rapid gains of AI can benefit all,” the IMF said in the report. 

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Highlighting the benefits of AI for economies, the IMF said AI could complement worker skills, enhance productivity and expand opportunities.  

“In advanced economies, for example, some 30% of jobs could benefit from AI integration. Workers who can harness the technology may see pay gains or greater productivity—while those who can’t, may fall behind. 

“Younger workers may find it easier to exploit opportunities, while older workers could struggle to adapt,” it added.  

Policy directions 

To be better prepared for AI, the IMF said the policy priority for emerging markets and developing economies should be to lay a strong foundation by investing in digital infrastructure and digital training for workers. 

It added that policymakers in advanced economies should expand social safety nets, invest in training workers, and prioritize AI innovation and integration.  

According to the IMF, countries globally would need to coordinate with one another to strengthen regulation to protect people from potential risks and abuses and build trust in AI.   

What you should know 

As part of its AI preparation initiatives, the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, recently organized a 4-day co-creation with over 120 ArtificiaI Intelligence experts. 

The workshop culminated in the country’s National AI Strategy. At the end of the workshop, the Communications Minister, Dr. Bosun Tijani, announced the launch of Nigeria’s first Multilingual Large Language Model (LLM). 

According to him, the AI tool was launched through a partnership between a Nigerian AI company, Awarritech, a global tech company, DataDotOrg, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and the National Centre for AI and Robotics (NCAIR).   

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