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Nigerian government initiates grant scheme to support AI startups



The Nigerian Government recently disclosed a new grant scheme started and coordinated by the Nigerian Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani. He disclosed this grant scheme via X( formerly Twitter) on Friday, October 13. The government plans to award 45 artificial intelligence (AI)-focused firms and researchers with 5 million naira ($6,444).

The Nigeria Artificial Intelligence Research Scheme plans to fund 45 consortia of researchers and startups so they can investigate additional opportunities to advance their work and create a sustainable AI ecosystem in Nigeria. This initiative aims to support the mainstreaming of the application of AI for economic prosperity.

According to the grant website, the grants focus on certain sectors which include: Agriculture Education, finance, Governance, Healthcare, Utility, and Sustainability. The requirements to be considered for the grant include either being a researcher in a Nigerian university or a foreign researcher who has worked in the Nigerian environment, or a tech start-up or a consortium of researchers and tech start-ups.

Proposals must be In line with the AI target areas of the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, applicants should submit a research proposal. A thorough proposal should include the project’s possible economic impact in Nigeria.

Furthermore, a track record of accomplishment in entrepreneurship or research is necessary. Lastly, within a year after receiving funding, applicants must produce at least one peer-reviewed paper.

October 13, 2023, is when the application period opens and ends on November 15, 2023. All entries must be made using the designated web portal. A group of experts in artificial intelligence, according to the Ministry, will evaluate the suggestions. Email notifications and invitations to interviews will be sent to those who make the shortlist.

When the grants are disbursed the Nigerian Government will have spent 225 million Naira ($289,980) on AI-based initiatives.

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