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WATRA Advocates E-Governance and Technology to Boost Jobs for Youths In Nigeria, W/Africa



, SiliconNigeria

WEST Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA) has advocated greater adoption of e-Governance and concerted effort to expand the digital economy in Nigeria and other countries of West Africa. 

The executive secretary of WATRA, Aliyu Yusuf Aboki stated that this will boost investment and create quality jobs for young people in Nigeria and West Africa. He stated that despite the comparatively low rate of literacy in West Africa, there is a very wide scope for digitizing government services. 

He said he sees the enormous opportunity for e-governance as he travels across the 15 ECOWAS states. He explained that governments at all levels could increase their taxes dramatically by digitizing the identities of taxpayers and tax collection processes. He also emphasized that there is a great opportunity to expand access to education and healthcare through digital tools. 

 WATRA is a regional organisation that has the mandate to promote the adoption and harmonization of regulations that stimulate investment in telecommunications and increase affordable access for citizens.

 The WATRA boss cited the example of India where over 1 billion citizens, including the poorest citizens, could easily receive or make payments using their telephones through a government-supported platform, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

 Other government-backed digital schemes in the country enable municipal governments to manage healthcare online and citizens to store and readily access government documents such as tax returns on their phones. 

Aliyu pointed out that the digitalization of government services has transformed the lives of the 273 million Indians who are classified as living in poverty. While noting progress in the adoption of ICT to deliver and manage government services in West Africa, the WATRA boss emphasized the need to scale up existing schemes in the sub-region. 

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Create AI Strategies In Line With Your Business Strategies – Deloitte West Africa Tells Firms



, SiliconNigeria

Data Science and Analytics Leader at Deloitte West Africa, Jania Okwechime, has advised firms to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) responsibly and sustainably by creating AI strategies in with their business plans. According to her, businesses also need to put governance and risk processes in place so that they can innovate with trust and confidence.

Jania Okwechime disclosed this at an interview with the media at the sidelines of the just-ended 8th Ghana CEO Summit held in Accra. She mentioned that in this era, AI is transforming businesses more than anything else in the world and therefore called on institutions across West Africa to embrace AI.

Jania also advised businesses to take advantage of AI to improve and accelerate their products and services for the benefit of their customers. Although she acknowledges the growing adoption of AI in West Africa, she stated that the adoption of AI globally has moved from the Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) stage to more implementation stage.

“In the African continent, we are still experimenting with some of the opportunities that the AI can generate for the people. So, we see adoption, but it could get accelerated”.

“I think it is not going to be long before they would see the impact of AI. You already saw some of the presenters [8th Ghana CEO Summit] today specifically in the telecoms and advertising industry that, AI is already being leveraged by businesses. We are only going to see the acceleration in the next coming years”.

Why AI has become a buzzword

She noted that although Artificial Intelligence has been around for decades, AI has now become a buzzword.

According to her though Artificial Intelligence has been around for decades, businesses have now realised its importance and are now taking advantage of it because of the data explosion.

“Every time an action is created, data is formed. Every time we send a text message, every time we pick up the phone to make a phone call, every time we pick our favorite series on Netflix, it’s creating data. So, there’s a huge data explosion”, she mentioned.

“Ninety percent of the data that we used today were created in the past two years. So, you can imagine. Now we have no choice but to harness technology like AI to be able to gain insights”, she added.

Generative AI and the traditional AI

Touching on Generative AI and traditional AI, Jania reiterates the differences between the former and the latter.

In her words: “The difference is that Generative AI can perform tasks predominantly done by humans. Like reading documents, creating documents, generating videos, generating reports, etc.”

“Now, it is making AI more accessible to businesses in a way that they can harness in three different ways. They can change the way they interact with their customers and increase customer experience internally within their network and their internal organisations. So, that they can improve internal statistics”, she pointed out.

Continuing, she said by harnessing AI and generative AI, businesses can reduce cost by automating tasks, and can make things more effective and efficient.

“One thing that is key to also mention is why AI and generative AI are used today for automation tasks and improving the set of processes that businesses already have. Businesses that are going to be successful and thriving in the next five years are those which are harnessing AI to transform what they are doing. And this needs some more thinking”, she stated.

Concerns about AI leading to job losses

On concerns of AI leading to job losses and other things, she said: “So, that is the concern right? because I mentioned that there are certain things that AI and generative AI can do today that were predominately done by humans. So, that is a concern, and we understand why. However, it doesn’t need to be”.

We don’t need to worry

“We don’t need to worry about our staff and our talent losing jobs, but rather we must transform the talent.  So, things are going to change in businesses. Their staff are going to change the way they work. So, organisations are responsible for upscaling their staff”.

She added that “Because their roles are going to be transformed. Instead of one person being in charge of creating a report, now that person needs to know how to use and leverage AI solutions to be able to interpret that report to be able to make strategic decisions. So, AI has a big implication on talent and the responsibility and the responsibility of the organisations to invest in the talent and upscale it”.

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Ericsson Study research reveals split in AI expectations



, SiliconNigeria

Ericsson found almost half of respondents to its ConsumerLab report have fears over AI’s potential influence, though most believe the technology can assist users across areas including education, employment and childcare.

The vendor polled more than 6,500 early adopters across 13 cities globally about their expectations of how AI could influence their lives in the 2030s, asking them to evaluate 120 digital services across 15 areas that are powered by the technology.

Services range from personal shopping assistant to simulation of real-life experiences and work-related advisers.

The report reflected a divide in opinions regarding future AI deployments, with 51 per cent of participants expressing “hopeful” expectations on how the technology can be applied, compared to 49 per cent who are “fearful”.

However, only 37 per cent of respondents under the hopeful category believe they will have control over how the technology is used in their own lives. The figure is lower for those under the fearful category, at 27 per cent.

Notably, Ericsson found “60 per cent of even the most ardent AI fans believe they will not have full control of how it will impact their lives in the 2030s”.

In terms of use cases, 80 per cent of the total respondents believe they will devise AI simulations to help them make “life-altering decisions”, such as buying a house or adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Participants also believe AI can assist in upskilling children and help them secure an attractive job.

Head of research agenda at Ericsson Consumer and IndustryLab Michael Bjorn said the research mirrors early adopters’ expectations that AI will have “significant roles in their future daily life”, while noting the technology’s future implications on network data traffic.

”Another insight is the concern that early adopters have, including the biggest supporters of AI, about the future control of AI in their personal lives. This shows a need for companies working with AI to address the concerns of consumers as they develop solutions.”

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Nvidia leaves Apple behind as market cap passes $3trn



, SiliconNigeria

Nvidia’s market capitalisation surpassed the $3 trillion mark in a feat that places the AI chipmaking powerhouse as the world’s second most valuable company, surpassing Apple for the first time.

The company has experienced rapid growth in the past year, in particular as early bets around chips to power AI models began to pay off, taking it to a value of $2 trillion in February. With its share price surging 5 per cent yesterday (5 June), it ended the day at $3.01 trillion, marginally ahead of Apple at $3 trillion.

Notably, Apple lost its position as the world’s most valuable company to Microsoft earlier this year, also largely due to the latter’s AI push and partnership with trailblazer OpenAI. Nvidia could expect a further surge after instigating a stock split, which will increase the number of shares bought by a factor of ten while reducing their value, enabling smaller investors to get involved. The move will go into effect tomorrow (7 June).

Before the AI boom, the company founded in 1993 was best-known for producing computer chips which process graphics for gaming. CEO Jensen Huang has said AI models will lead to a new “industrial revolution” and transform global businesses. The company reported revenue of $26 billion in Q1, up 262 per cent year-on-yea

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