Spotlight on AI startups in Nigeria

Discover the emerging AI landscape in Nigeria and the thriving startups leading the charge. As AI gains momentum, Nigeria's innovative AI startups are providing groundbreaking solutions across industries.

Itumeleng Notsi
June 8, 2023
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is assuming a prominent role as the world transitions to a tech-driven future, which is not a surprise. In Nigeria, emerging AI has become a significant catalyst for innovation. This article will examine the emergence of AI in Nigeria and the leading AI startups in the nation. The nation has seen an increase in AI startups in recent years.

The Emergence of AI in Nigeria

Nigeria stands a good chance to greatly benefit from AI, especially considering her population and the vastness of her resources. Nigeria, being one of the largest African economies, is not one to miss out on global innovation. The country has embraced the use of AI, and this has led to a significant increase in AI startups in the past few years. according to Oxford Insights’ Government Artificial Intelligence Readiness Index Nigeria ranked 138 in the world. for The report captures the capacity of governments to exploit the innovative potential of AI. Although Nigeria ranked low the potential for AI startups in Nigeria is increasing yearly. These startups have continued to provide solutions for problems that traditional businesses could not handle with conventional software.

Factors Driving AI adoption in Nigeria

Over a quarter of all AI initiatives are already in production and more than one third are in advanced development stages. Organizations are reporting an increase in their AI spending this year. Although companies agree on the benefits of AI, there are huge variations in terms of how they deploy the solutions. The top use cases include IT automation, intelligent task/process automation, automated threat analysis and investigation, supply and logistics, automated customer service agents, and automated human resources. Moreover The driving forces behind the adoption of AI in Nigeria include the increased availability of affordable tech tools, the rising use of data analytics, and the introduction of products that incorporate the technology.

By improving productivity, efficiency, and decision-making in Nigerian businesses, AI can enable them to compete better with developed countries. Moreover, AI can improve the customer experience and open up new business opportunities for Nigerian companies in the areas of data analytics and software development.

Challenges and Opportunities

AI continues to present challenges, particularly with regard to data and the challenges associated with data include the lack of adequate volumes and quality of training data. Data security, governance, performance, and latency are also challenges, whilst solution prices, performance and scale are the top data management issues. Despite the potential benefits of AI, startups in Nigeria are still faced with significant challenges such as lack of funding and a limited pool of skilled AI professionals. However, the Nigerian government has taken steps to address these challenges, such as launching initiatives to train more AI professionals and providing funding for startups.

There are also many opportunities for startups in the AI industry in Nigeria. The need for creative solutions is great due to the large population and quickly expanding economy. The market potential in the nation offers significant opportunities for startups that can create AI solutions for industries like agriculture, transportation, and education. In conclusion, Nigeria's startup ecosystem has undergone significant changes as a result of the growth of AI. Although there are still obstacles to be overcome, there are many chances for the industry to grow. Nigeria is on the right track to overtaking other countries as a major force in the global AI market with continued government support and increased investment in the industry.

Top AI Startups in Nigeria

Nomba AI is another example of a successful, innovative African AI startup. Nomba AI provides an AI-enabled chatbot to assist in the transfer of money to family and friends in Nigeria. Nomba AI chatbot is valued at $150 million. Nomba launched in 2016 as Kudi AI, a chatbot built to answer financial requests on social media apps, and has since evolved to provide point-of-sale terminals, sales management tools, and banking tools for businesses to accept offline and online payments. It claims to serve over 300,000 businesses and process $1 billion in monthly transactions.

There are various innovative AI startups creating innovative solutions to African problems. InstaDeep is a good example, a deep tech startup focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. Instadeep was one of the few companies globally that were partnering with DeepMind, an AI subsidiary of Google [Alphabet Inc.]. InstaDeep employed DeepMind’s reinforcement learning approach in its business solutions. Enterprise applications from InstaDeep cover a range of industries, including biotech, transportation, electronics manufacturing, and logistics, and use cutting-edge machine learning techniques like deep reinforcement learning. Ultimately, this helps companies optimize the decision-making process and improve efficiency.

The development of tech hubs in Africa is promoting innovation, generating employment opportunities, and fostering economic development. These hubs offer an environment that is supportive of startups and helps early-stage tech companies succeed. With its young and expanding population and purposeful tech ecosystems, Africa offers limitless opportunities for software development and fintech, addressing the global talent shortage in the industry. With its value and scalable solutions, AI software development in Nigeria is transforming industries and businesses in areas like agriculture, healthcare, education, infrastructure, and energy. 

As seen on FOX, Digital journal, NCN, Market Watch, Bezinga and more

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