Nigeria launches first multilingual large language model for inclusive AI development 

Nigeria launches its first Multilingual Large Language Model (LLM), aiming to foster inclusive AI development by leveraging the country’s linguistic diversity, alongside significant infrastructure developments to strengthen national computing capacity.

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The Nigerian government, through the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, has unveiled Nigeria’s first Multilingual Large Language Model (LLM). This initiative marks a critical step towards integrating AI technology with the country’s diverse linguistic heritage.

The LLM, announced by Dr. Bosun Tijani, the Communications Minister, is part of a broader effort to position Nigeria as a leader in AI development across the continent. The model was launched following a four-day AI workshop held in Abuja, which drew over 120 AI experts. The development of the LLM is a collaboration between the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the National Centre for AI and Robotics (NCAIR), Awarritech—a Nigerian AI company, and DataDotOrg, a global tech company.

Designed to support five low-resource languages and accented English, the LLM aims to improve the representation of these languages in AI applications, promoting more inclusive and effective technology solutions. This approach is expected to enhance local content and provide a foundation for more nuanced AI-driven applications and services.

The project will also be reinforced by significant educational support, with over 7,000 fellows from the Three Million Technical Talent (3MTT) program participating.    These efforts are supported by substantial financial backing, with $3.5 million in seed funding contributed by international and local partners, including UNDP, UNESCO, Meta, Google, Microsoft.

Infrastructure developments have also been announced, including the acquisition of GPUs funded by 21st Century Technologies to enhance the country’s national computing capacity. This infrastructure will support local researchers, startups, and government entities involved in critical AI projects, and will be housed at the GBB Data Centre in the Federal Capital Territory.

This strategic development positions Nigeria to leverage AI for local benefits and sets the stage for the country to play a significant role in the global AI landscape.