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Nigeria Launches First Multilingual Language Model Amid AI Strategy Rollout

Multilingual Language Model Nigeria

In a significant technological advance, Nigeria has introduced its first multilingual large language model (LLM), a groundbreaking development announced by Dr. Bosun Tijani, the country’s Communications Minister.

This announcement came on the heels of a productive four-day artificial intelligence workshop in Abuja.

This pioneering AI tool is the result of a collaborative effort involving key partners: Nigerian AI enterprise Awarritech, global tech innovator DataDotOrg, along with governmental agencies the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the National Centre for AI and Robotics (NCAIR).

Dr. Tijani explained that the LLM would be trained to understand five under-resourced languages and accented English. This training aims to improve the representation of these languages in current datasets, which is crucial for developing robust AI solutions in Nigeria. Additionally, the initiative will benefit from the involvement of more than 7,000 fellows participating in the 3MTT Nigeria program.

The workshop also marked a milestone in Nigeria’s strategic AI development, with the creation of an initial draft of the National AI Strategy. This strategy outlines Nigeria’s commitment to enhancing its position as a leader in AI technology, supported by notable partnerships and investments aimed at advancing local capabilities in this field.

To further this endeavor, 21st Century Technology has committed to funding the acquisition of GPUs. These crucial resources will enhance the computational power at the GBB Data Centre in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), supporting local researchers, startups, and government projects in AI.

Furthermore, the National AI Strategy has secured $3.5 million in seed funding through contributions from both international and local partners, including UNDP, UNESCO, major tech corporations like Meta, Google, Microsoft, and Luminate, as well as academic and governmental bodies like Lagos Business School, Data Science Nigeria, and other divisions within the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy. The funding package includes $1.5 million in direct support and an additional $2 million from 21st Century Technologies invested into a pilot program, setting a solid financial foundation for Nigeria’s AI ambitions.

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