The Nigerian Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, revealed on Friday, Oct.13, that the Federal Government intends to grant a sum of $6,444 (5 million naira) each to 45 artificial intelligence (AI) focused startups and researchers. This figure makes a total of $289,980 (225 million naira) being given out for the purpose of AI.
This information was disclosed by the minister in a post on X. The recently introduced Nigeria Artificial Intelligence Research Scheme is designed to facilitate the widespread utilization of Artificial Intelligence to drive economic advancement.
As outlined on the scheme’s official website, the focal areas encompass Agriculture, Education and Workforce, Finance, Governance, Healthcare, Utility and Sustainability. To be eligible for the grant, applicants are required to form a consortium, comprising a startup or tech company, a researcher from a Nigerian university, or a foreign researcher, as stated by the Ministry.
To support the mainstreaming of the application of Artificial Intelligence for economic prosperity, we’ve launched the Nigeria Artificial Intelligence Research Scheme to fund 45 consortia of startups and researchers to allow them explore further opportunities to deepen their… pic.twitter.com/CaD5Vqs8Du
— Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani (@bosuntijani) October 13, 2023
Applicants should present a research proposal in line with the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy’s AI focus areas. Furthermore, they must provide a comprehensive project proposal that highlights the project’s potential economic impact in Nigeria.
In addition, a proven track record of excellence in research or entrepreneurship is a requirement. Finally, applicants are expected to publish at least one peer-reviewed article within one year of grant receipt.
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 the formulation of its National Artificial Intelligence Strategy.
The application period commences on Oct.13, 2023, and concludes on Nov. 15, 2023. All submissions should be made through the specified online platform. The Ministry has indicated that a panel of AI specialists will assess the proposals. Those who make it to the shortlist will receive email notifications and be invited for interviews.