Navigating the DeepTech Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities of DeepTech in Nigeria – Socio-Economic and Policy Implications

By Dr. Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo, Director of Government Affairs Africa & IGA CTO Liaison, Intel, and Anna Ekeledo, Executive Director, AfriLabs

With its diverse cultures, landscapes, and challenges, Africa stands at the edge of a technological revolution. DeepTech, an intersection of cutting-edge technology and scientific research, offers immense potential to reshape the socio-economic landscape of the continent, particularly in countries like Nigeria. However, amidst the promises of the region lie significant challenges and the need for carefully crafted policies to harness the opportunities effectively.


DeepTech innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and blockchain have the potential to bridge information gaps and provide essential services to remote and underserved communities. For instance, AI-powered healthcare platforms can offer diagnostics and treatment recommendations, improving healthcare access even in rural areas.


However, in Africa, particularly Nigeria, the adoption of DeepTech encounters various hurdles despite its potential advantages. Insufficient digital infrastructure poses a barrier to deploying DeepTech solutions, while a shortage of skilled professionals capable of developing and overseeing such technologies intensifies the challenge. Additionally, restricted access to funding presents obstacles to innovation and the expansion of DeepTech startups, compounded by the lack of clear regulatory frameworks, which introduces uncertainty for both DeepTech enterprises and investors.


Given the challenges, policymakers must prioritize creating an enabling environment for DeepTech by investing in digital infrastructure to facilitate its deployment, emphasizing STEM education and training programs to equip the workforce with necessary skills, providing funding and incentives to stimulate innovation among DeepTech startups, and establishing clear regulatory frameworks that protect consumers and businesses while fostering innovation.


In line with the imperative of embracing DeepTech and fostering technological innovation, Intel, a global leader in computing innovation, is spearheading an AI Programme scheduled to take place from the 5th to the 7th of March 2024 at Fraser Suites in Abuja, Nigeria. This initiative, aimed at empowering African communities with the transformative potential of artificial intelligence, aligns perfectly with the discourse on DeepTech’s challenges and opportunities in Africa.


Partnering with AfriLabs, a network organization of innovation hubs across Africa, Intel’s AI Programme for African DeepTech Startups & Ecosystem Stakeholders underscores the importance of collaborative efforts in driving technological advancement on the continent. By bringing together stakeholders from government, academia, industry, and civil society, this programme seeks to showcase the latest advancements in AI technology and facilitate discussions on policy frameworks, skills development, and infrastructure investment necessary to harness the full potential of DeepTech in Africa.


The journey ahead may be filled with challenges, but with concerted efforts and strategic partnerships, Africa can emerge as a global leader in DeepTech innovation, unlocking new opportunities and shaping a brighter future for generations to come.