Nigeria introduces Africa’s first large-scale multilingual language model


Dr. Bosun Tijani, the minister of communications, recently announced a partnership between 21st Century Technologies and Galaxy Backbone to speed up the development of AI projects that are vital to the country.

In an effort to solidify Nigeria’s status as a leader in the African artificial intelligence (AI) space, the country’s Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy has just developed the country’s first multilingual large language model (LLM).

Dr. Bosun Tijani, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, made the announcement on Friday, April 19, detailing how a four-day artificial intelligence workshop in Abuja, the capital of the nation, had served as inspiration for the LLM launch earlier in the week.

Tijani claims that a partnership between the National Centre for AI and Robotics (NCAIR), the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the worldwide tech business DataDotOrg, and the Nigerian AI startup Awarritech made it possible to create the AI tool. According to the minister,

“Accompanying the development of artificial intelligence solutions, the LLM will receive instruction in five low-resource languages and accented English to assure a more robust representation of languages in existing data sets.” More than seven thousand participants in the 3MTT Nigeria programmed will also lend their support to the endeavor.”

Tijani elaborated by saying that 120 AI professionals worked together for four days to write Nigeria’s National AI Strategy, and that the nation has disclosed significant AI development milestones and partnerships to help promote AI research and development.

He brought up the fact that 21st Century Technologies, Galaxy Backbone, and NCAIR Nigeria had joined forces to speed up AI initiatives that were vital to the country.

In order to increase the country’s computer capability, 21st Century Technology will pay for the acquisition of GPUs. The AI projects located in the GBB Data Centre in the FCT will benefit from these resources, which are available to local academics, entrepreneurs, and government bodies.

During the workshop, the Minister made an announcement about the relaunch of NCAIR. NCAIR is an organization that specifically aims to support research and development in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as their practical applications in Nigeria’s important industries. The speaker emphasized that NCAIR’s expanded capabilities would allow it to fulfil its mission as a hub for digital innovation and research to a greater extent.

The National AI Strategy has been seed-funded with $3.5 million, according to Tijani. Financial backing comes from both domestic and international sources. Among them are the following: NITDA, Meta, Google, Microsoft, Luminate, Data Science Nigeria, Lagos Business School, UNESCO, and the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy.

The total investment for the pilot program is $1.5 million, with $2 million coming from 21st Century Technologies.

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