Nigeria launches first multilingual large language model in Africa

The Nigerian government, represented by the Ministry of Communications, Technology, and Digital Economy, unveiled the country’s inaugural multilingual large language model (LLM). This move comes as Nigeria aims to spearhead AI advancement in Africa.

On Friday, April 19, Dr. Bosun Tijani, Nigeria’s Communications Minister, revealed that the launch of the LLM (Large Language Model) was initiated following a productive four-day AI (Artificial Intelligence) workshop that concluded in Abuja on April 15th.

Tijani explained that the introduction of the AI tool was made possible through a partnership between Nigerian AI company Awarritech, international tech firm DataDotOrg, Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR). The Minister spoke about this collaboration during the event.

“The LLM will be trained in five low-resource languages and accented English to ensure stronger language representation in existing data sets for the development of artificial intelligence solutions. The project will also be supported by over 7,000 fellows from the 3MTT Nigeria program,”

After working together for four days with around 120 AI specialists, Tijani announced that Nigeria had created a preliminary version of its National Artificial Intelligence Strategy. Notable progress and partnerships were also revealed to boost Nigeria’s advancement in the field of AI.

Nigeria launches first multilingual large language model in Africa

In his remarks, he highlighted a partnership formed between 21st Century Technologies, Galaxy Backbone, and NCAIR Nigeria for the swift advancement of essential artificial intelligence initiatives in Nigeria.

In the 21st century, advanced technology will finance the acquisition of GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) to boost a country’s overall computing power. These GPUs will primarily benefit researchers, emerging businesses, and governmental organizations based in the GBB Data Centre located within the Federal Capital Territory. They will have access to these resources for their Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiatives.

At the workshop, the Minister unveiled the revival of NCAIR, an organization specifically established to foster research and advancements in AI, robotics, drones, and IoT technologies, as well as their implementation in crucial Nigerian industries. The Minister emphasized that NCAIR’s expanded capabilities would enable it to serve more effectively as a digital innovation and research hub.

Tijani announced that the National AI Strategy has been given a seed fund of $3.5 million by various domestic and international backers. The funding is endorsed by these partners: UNDP, UNESCO, Meta, Google, Microsoft, Luminate, Lagos Business School, Data Science Nigeria, NITDA, and more entities under the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy.

The pilot program receives a total investment of $3.5 million, with $1.5 million coming as direct funding and another $2 million contributed by 21st Century Technologies.

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2024-04-20 23:03