Nigeria signs MoU to leverage Omeife to deepen digital literacy

By : Samira Njoya

Date : lundi, 13 mars 2023 13:12

In recent years, the federal government of Nigeria has multiplied collaborations with local startups. The aim is to harness the youth’s tech expertise for national development. 

The Federal Government of Nigeria has approved the use of the humanoid robot "Omeife" to enhance digital literacy in the country. A memorandum of understanding was signed to this effect on Saturday, March 11, between the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Uniccon, the company that developed Omeife, the first humanoid robot in Africa.

According to Yau Isa Garba, national director of the NITDA’s  National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics,  the “whole idea of the project is [...] 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,” he added. 

Omeife was presented by Nigeria's vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, at the global innovation tradeshow Gitex, Dubai, in October 2022.  The 1.80-meter-long female robot was manufactured with local components. It can speak Pidgin, Yoruba, English, French, Arabic, Kiswahili, Hausa, Igbo, and Afrikaans and understands different African cultures. According to Chucks Ekwueme, Uniccon’s CEO, Omeife is “not just multilingual, it can switch languages and interact with specific gestures—hand illustrations, smile, and other bodily gestures—that match the tone of the conversation.” 

According to Barrister Emmanuel Edet who was representing the Director General of NITDA, Nigeria plans to develop an application that will allow everyone to take advantage of Omeife.

Meanwhile, according to Chuks Ekwueme, in a context where Nigeria targets 95% digital literacy by 2030, Omeife can lead the country and Africa in general into a digital future. 

Samira Njoya


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