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2020 Conference – Artificial Intelligence and the Nigerian Nonprofit Sector: Challenges and Opportunities

Government, business, and civil society organisations work during a period when technology is driving the interdependence that characterise the quest for change. Computers, mobile connectivity, applications, and the internet are shaping the way organisations address their vision and mission in ways that brings out solutions and opportunities for growth.  Internet and digital technologies are rapidly transforming the way organisations deliver change across Nigerian communities. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and big data will change the way different sectors of the economy carry out their business. AI can cover anything from voice assistants (SIRI on your iPhone, Google Assistant on Android phones), self-driving cars to Google’s search engine, Uber’s driver matching and ride share, Facebook’s face recognition in pictures to Skype’s real time translation tools, drone delivering blood and essential medications to remote communities, auto systems used on commercial flights and autonomous weapons–artificial intelligence systems that are programmed to kill.  AI offer unprecedented opportunities for national development and growth with the potential to generate social, environmental, and economic benefits for people and planet.

While the benefits of AI are enormous, it poses clear-cut challenges for human well-being and order, portends danger for our security, safety, and privacy. Since AI are designed to operate with varying levels of autonomy, there are concerns that AI may become a risk as experts think two scenarios are possible[1]: AI is programmed to do something devastating or AI is programmed to do something beneficial, but it develops a destructive method for achieving its goal. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in recent times has necessitated the need for government, business, and civil society actors to be proactive, responsive and inclusive in using the internet and digital technologies to do their work as we have never seen in time past.  With technologies evolving as well as bringing together (digital connectivity) and diving (digital divide) and having implications for national development, it is important to ready the third sector for the opportunities and challenges of AI.

Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) with the support of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), are convening a national conference on December 8, 2020 to serve as an opportunity for citizens and citizen organisations to understand the AI landscape, advantages and disadvantages of AI especially its impact on fundamental principles and rights, think through potential solutions for creating trustworthy AI including issues of trust and misinformation, explore framework for the governance of digital technologies, open the door for collaboration and building a movement around trust worthy AI in Nigeria. At the end of the conference reports and recorded sessions will be created as substantive contribution to the debate on the development of an AI strategy by the third sector and Nigerian Government.

The national conference on AI aims to provide a consolidated view of experts and emerging concepts on the AI landscape in ways that ensures the nonprofit community in Nigeria understands its pros and cons and is readied for the opportunities and challenges that comes with the development, governance and use of AI in enhancing digital civil society.


The conference which will be a 70-minute hybrid event— in-person (observing COVID-19 prevention measures), live radio broadcast across the 36 States of the Federation and virtual conference (Zoom and Facebook live streaming via the NNNGO page) will follow a keynote and an expert presentation format followed by a moderated Q and A to deepen the conversation. Event will run from 4.30pm to 5.40pm on Tuesday, December 8, 2020.

Emma Amaral

Emma Amaral is a policy analyst with the Centre for International Digital Policy at Global Affairs Canada, where she works at the intersection of international relations and digital technologies. Prior to joining the Government of Canada, she conducted research and advocacy on technology and human rights and inclusion in a variety of contexts, including the UN, think tank, and non-profit organizations. She holds a Master of Global Affairs from the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

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Francesca Fanucci

Francesca Fanucci is an Italian/British lawyer who has worked in international and EU law for over 20 years. She is also a Fellow specialised in freedom of expression at the Center for Media, Data and Society, Central European University and a member of Internews’ Internet Freedom Expert Register. At ECNL, she mostly works on projects at the UN, Council of Europe and EU level aimed at developing standards and regulatory frameworks addressing the impact of new technologies and AI on civic freedoms. Moreover, she is leading ECNL’s work on how CSOs can use EU law to defend fundamental rights and civic space and efforts to promote EU-wide legislation to end Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP). Most recently, Francesca led ECNL’s engagement in supporting the UN Human Rights Committee in developing General Comment no. 37 on Article 21, ICCPR, a milestone UN document creating improved safeguards for existing and emerging practices of peaceful protests and gatherings. She also provides assistance and expertise to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the implementation of the Guidelines on the Right to Participate in Public Affairs; to the EU Commission, EU Fundamental Rights Agency and EU Council Member States in addressing attacks to civic space in Europe and in developing countries. Francesca is fluent in Italian, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

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Chenai Chair

Chenai Chair is a digital policy researcher who has extensively focused on understanding the impact of technology in society in order to better public interest policy. She is currently World Wide Web Foundation’s Research Manager focused on Gender and Digital Rights. She is also a 2019/2020 Mozilla Tech Policy focused on assessing adequacy of data protection and privacy regulation in Africa taking on gender and data justice perspectives. Her work has included research on ICT access and use issues from a youth perspective, net neutrality and zero rating and unpacking the gendered digital divide through a feminist perspective. She has supported organisations working on understanding digital ID issues in Zimbabwe and occasionally writes for GenderIT on her experiences as a feminist researcher.


Chenai currently sits on the Internet Governance Forum Multistakeholder Advisory Group and co-chairs the Gender Best Practice Forum. She has also been part of the African School of Internet Governance core faculty. Chenai holds an MSocSci specialising in Global Studies, a BsocSci (Honors) in Industrial Relations, and a BSocSci in Gender Studies and Industrial Relations from the University of Cape Town.

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Onica N. Makwakwa

Head of Africa, Alliance for Affordable Internet

World Wide Web Foundation

Leads the multi-stakeholder engagement across Africa for the Alliance for Affordable Internet focusing on advancing good practices in policy and regulatory frameworks for affordable access to broadband. She also convenes the Africa Summit on Women and Girls in Technology.


A consumer, civil and digital rights advocate, Onica has managed and pioneered various national and international campaigns and policy change processes for women’s rights, civil rights, consumer rights, media and digital transformation initiatives. She brings a strong sensitivity and unique perspective to the dynamics affecting women, and other disadvantaged populations.

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To participate, register through this link


Download the Conference program here