InnovateAI, Lagos, 2024

Innovate-AI-Lagos-2024

The InnovateAI Lagos 2024 conference, themed “Adapting AI for Nigeria: Crafting Intelligent Solutions for Our Unique Landscape,” was a landmark event in the Nigerian AI ecosystem. The conference was graced with keynotes from notable figures, including Abu Suleiman, MD of Sterling Bank; Femi Osinubi, Advisory Leader & Partner at PwC Nigeria; Hon Olajide Adedeji, House of Reps Committee Chairman on Cybersecurity and ICT; and Rodger Werkhoven, Independent Creative Director at OpenAI, who led the design element of the creation of ChatGPT and DALL-E 2. The opening address was delivered by Ehia Erhaboh, Co-Convener of AI in Nigeria, setting a tone of innovation and collaboration for the event.

A special 5-minute session was dedicated to Herbert Wigwe, with Olumide Soyombo paying tribute to his legacy. The event also featured light-hearted moments, such as when the compere, Gloria Olufeko, engaged the audience in giving Nigerian names to Rodger Werkhoven; “Olumide Emeka Musa” were the names joyfully suggested, showcasing the warm and inclusive spirit of the Nigerian community.

The conference hall was filled with over 1500 attendees from a cross-section of the AI ecosystem and Nigerian society, indicating a high interest and engagement in AI technologies and their application in Nigeria. Representation from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) included Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed and Ms Onyinye Willie-Pepple, while Mr Abdallah represented the NITDA DG. This high-level participation underscores the importance of AI in the national discourse on technology and innovation.

A significant moment at the event was when the House of Reps Chairman on Cybersecurity and ICT publicly invited the co-conveners of AI in Nigeria to meet with the joint house to discuss the evolution of AI technology in Nigeria. This invitation is a positive step towards integrating AI technologies into national development and cybersecurity strategies.

The conference also featured over 40 exhibitors, including AI startups and enterprise players in the technology field like Interswitch, demonstrating the vibrancy and diversity of Nigeria's technology sector.

Feedback from the event has been overwhelmingly positive, with the theme of “Adapting AI for Nigeria” being actively embraced by participants and stakeholders. The success of InnovateAI Lagos 2024 sets a high expectation for an even bigger and better conference in 2025 as the Nigerian AI community continues to grow and evolve.

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Mallam Abdulrahman Ado is a seasoned professional with over 35 years of experience in the public and private sectors, significantly contributing to Nigeria’s strategic industries, including telecommunications and energy. As a former Board Member and Director at 9Mobile, he played a crucial role in reputation management, stakeholder engagement, and strategic partnerships. His career highlights include pioneering roles in regulatory bodies, optimizing revenue systems, and spearheading corporate social responsibility initiatives.