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The Nigerian government funds AI projects with $290K in grants.

The Nigeria Artificial Intelligence Research Scheme, recently introduced, aims to promote the extensive application of AI to drive economic progress. On Friday, October 13th, the Nigerian Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, unveiled a groundbreaking plan. The government’s intention is to allocate 5 million naira (equivalent to $6,444) to 45 startups and researchers with a profound focus on artificial intelligence (AI).

This initiative was publicly disclosed by the minister through a post on X (formerly known as Twitter). It constitutes a pivotal component of the newly introduced Nigeria Artificial Intelligence Research Scheme, which seeks to facilitate the widespread integration of AI to catalyze economic advancement.

Exploring the official website of this scheme, we discover that its key focus areas encompass agriculture, education, workforce development, finance, governance, healthcare, utility services, and sustainability. To qualify for a grant, applicants are required to establish a consortium that includes a startup or tech company, a researcher affiliated with a Nigerian university, or a foreign researcher, as stipulated by the ministry.

Applicants must present a research proposal that aligns harmoniously with the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy’s areas of AI concentration. Furthermore, their proposal should encompass a comprehensive evaluation of the project’s potential economic impact within Nigeria.

Moreover, candidates must demonstrate a proven track record of excellence either in research or entrepreneurship. They are expected to publish at least one peer-reviewed article within a year of receiving the grant. It’s also noteworthy that in August, the Nigerian government extended an invitation to scientists of Nigerian descent and globally renowned experts who have engaged in the Nigerian market. The aim is to foster collaboration in the formulation of the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

The application period commences on October 13, 2023, and concludes on November 15, 2023. The ministry has made it clear that a panel of AI specialists will be entrusted with evaluating the proposals.

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