Nigeria: Federal Govt Okays 'Omeife' Humanoid Robot to Deepen Digital Literacy

11 March 2023

The federal government has given approval for the use of Omeife humanoid robot to advance digital literacy in the country.

Omeife is a female-looking humanoid robot developed by the Uniccon Group of Companies and programmed to speak Pidgin, Yoruba, English, French, Arabic, Kiswahili, Hausa, Igbo and Afrikaans. It is the first African humanoid robot.

At the signing of an MoU to deploy the technology across Nigeria, the national director, National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Yau Isa Garba, said Omeife falls within Nigeria's local content vision and policy on digital strategy.

"We are thrilled that this is coming from a Nigerian tech company," he added.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo last year unveiled Omeife to a global audience, saying the federal government would intensify efforts at harnessing talents among Nigerian youths in the area of Artificial Intelligence for national development.

According to Garba, NITDA has mapped out strategies on how to partner with the company.

"We paid the company a visit and they showed us some of the many projects they are already working on apart from Omeife. It was then that the DG directed that we work with the Uniccon Group to leverage on Omeife in deepening the digital literacy policy of NITDA and the ministry," said.

He said the signing of the partnership agreement, though a milestone, was just the beginning of what the government intends to achieve in leveraging digital technology.

"The whole idea of the project is that we want to leverage Omeife to deepen digital literacy in Nigeria. The plan is that we are going to use the robot- just like the way people use ChatGTP- for guidance, instructions and so on.

"The good thing is that we are going to deploy this in the four major languages spoken in Nigeria- Pidgin, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. We want to show that there is absolute inclusion and that no Nigeria is left behind in the deployment of this technology.

"We plan to have an application that any Nigerian can use and take advantage of Omeife. We will provide APIs that will integrate these technologies and see to it that Nigerians benefit from it," Garba added.

The chairman/CEO of Unicocon Group, Chuks Ekwuem, said the Nigerian government was targeting 95 per cent digital literacy level in the country by 2030, adding that signing the MoU was the right path in leading Nigeria and other African countries to a digital future.

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