NITDA and Cisco Partner to Drive AI and Smart Agriculture in Nigeria

A vibrant scene in Nigeria featuring the integration of AI and smart agriculture. The image shows a modern farm with drones and IoT devices in action,

Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Cisco to focus on AI and smart agriculture. This partnership aims to unlock the value of digitalisation in Nigeria and promote an inclusive future.

The Federal Government will collaborate with Cisco, industry, and academia to accelerate the national digitisation agenda through pilot projects in five key areas:

  1. Repurposing the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) to create an AI and cybersecurity experience and incubation centre.
  2. Establishing a broadband innovation centre.
  3. Setting up a smart agriculture demonstration farm.
  4. Designing and deploying technology learning hubs.
  5. Incubating defence technology solutions.

This partnership aligns with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s priorities of diversification through digitisation and innovation, strengthening national security, and enhancing agriculture for food security.

Kashifu Inuwa, NITDA’s director general, emphasized the link between AI and cybersecurity, highlighting the need to upgrade the NCAIR. He noted that the establishment of an innovation hub will foster the development of affordable broadband solutions in Nigeria, encouraging local startups to leverage advanced technology. Inuwa also mentioned the goal of achieving 95% broadband coverage in Nigeria through the National Broadband Plan, stressing the importance of smart strategies to meet this target.

The initiative on smart agriculture aims to improve food production and productivity using Internet of Things (IoT), drones, and other technologies. Inuwa highlighted that technology is crucial for achieving the President’s mandate of cultivating 500,000 acres of land for food security.

Clayton Naidoo, Cisco’s country director, stated that the agreement will enhance agricultural production and contribute to Nigeria’s economic growth and job creation. He emphasized leveraging technology to create economic opportunities in Nigeria.

A foundation of the agreement is Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) Programme, a global initiative partnering with governments and businesses to develop sustainable, secure, and inclusive communities powered by technology. Cisco will partner with NCAIR to build an experience centre supporting organisations across Nigeria in building robust cybersecurity and AI architectures. Additionally, Cisco will collaborate with Galaxy Backbone and NITDA to establish a broadband innovation hub and develop IoT use cases around smart agriculture using agricultural bots and drone technology.

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