Posted on:

August 28, 2023

National Artificial Intelligence Strategy

Empowering Nigerians through the Digital Nigeria Programme.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a multi-purpose technology transforming production and service delivery, with the potential to significantly impact economic growth and social progress. Recent research shows that AI could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, with $3 trillion from increased productivity and $9.1 trillion from new products and services (PwC, 2018).

The International Finance Corporation projects that the strategic adoption of AI could add up $234 billion to Africa’s GDP by 2030. Nigeria in this loop is considered to have a fast-growing technology start-up ecosystem (having attracted 25% of the $1.3 billion funding to African tech start-ups in 2021) and with proactive leadership, is well-positioned to leverage AI for economic diversification and inclusive growth. As an innovation leader on the African continent, Nigeria needs to develop a national strategy to harness the power of AI for sustainable development.

However, along with the opportunities, AI governance also poses some complex socio-technical challenges. As algorithms are deployed in high-stake domains like healthcare, finance, and security, concerns are emerging around ethics, bias, transparency, job automation and privacy. Both policy makers and researchers are of a consensus that a human-centered approach is essential to ensure AI systems are fair and accountable to all, across gender, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

A National AI Strategy for Nigeria to responsibly steer the AI revolution towards achieving national goals around job creation, social inclusion, and sustainable development becomes imperative. With collaborative leadership, Nigeria seeks to pioneer ethical and inclusive AI innovation that improves welfare and expands opportunities for all its citizens.


Building on existing work done by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to develop a National AI strategy, we are expanding our co-creation approach to engage and include top AI researchers of Nigerian descent globally, in the process of crafting a National AI Strategy. This white paper is a short description of our approach of identifying top AI researchers of Nigeria descent all over the world, regardless of their location.


To identify top researchers working in the field of AI globally, we obtained data from Lens (same data source used by McKinsey for the “mckinsey-technology-trends-outlook-2023”). We first extracted all articles in the field of AI where the authors’ affiliate institutions are in Nigeria. This resulted in 1,349 publications (5,127 records when we split each of the articles by author). At the global level (regardless of institution’s country), we obtained data from the same source, on the top 50,000 published journal articles in the field of AI for each of the last 6 years (2018 – 2023). That resulted in total observations of 299,905 publications. We equally split each of the articles by authors resulting in 1,195,598 observations. We then merged the two datasets to have 1,201,366 observations (after dropping observations with null authors).

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