Posted on:

June 9, 2024

#WeekInReview: Full Week Recap of Activities of the Honourable Minister, Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani

HM US Meeting

INTRO [June 3 – 7]

Dr. Tijani intensified his drive to improve Nigeria’s technology infrastructure through strategic investments by engaging with local and international development partners towards actualising his goals as outlined in his Strategic Blueprint for the Ministry.

KEY FOCUS

Infrastructure Development: To complement progress made in training and capacity building for Nigerians through the 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT) programme and other Ministry initiatives, the Honourable Minister has maintained focus on developing strategic local and international partnerships targeted at building critical technology infrastructure towards growing Nigeria’s digital economy. 

TIMELINE

Monday:

  • The Honourable Minister engaged in a virtual meeting with representatives of the World Bank Group to discuss priority areas on Digital Trade for Nigeria and preliminary findings and insights from the Digital Trade Policy Gap Analysis. World Bank Group representatives at the meeting include Nigora Sadikova, Digital Trade Regulation Specialist World Bank Group; Aleksandar Stojanov, Economist; Martín Molinuevo, Senior Counsel; Maryam Lawal, Digital Development Specialist; and Xiaolin Chai, Director, Trade in Services and Investment Division, World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  • Dr. Tijani’s next virtual engagement was the Digital Cooperation Organisation (DCO) Council Special Meeting to discuss the organisation’s membership expansion. DCO enables digital prosperity by accelerating inclusive growth of the digital economy.

Tuesday:

  • The Honourable Minister had a follow up meeting with representatives of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to further discuss strategies targeted at reimagining the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) for effective service delivery. The meeting was attended by Ignatius O. Ayewoh, Acting Director General, BPE and Tola Odeyemi, Postmaster General, NIPOST.
  • Following this meeting, Dr. Tijani hosted Engr. Saidu Wakili, Director, Telecommunications & Postal Services (TPS) of the Ministry, on issues surrounding telecommunications Right of Way (RoW), and also aligning the work carried out by the TPS with the Broadband Alliance project. He then attended a dinner meeting with Annika Hahn-Englund, Swedish Ambassador and Head of Mission to Nigeria, at her official residence. The conversation was to discuss follow up actions to the Honourable Minister’s visit to Sweden recently.

“Last week, the Honourable Minister’s activities focused on the Infrastructure pillar objectives of his Strategic Blueprint as he engaged with key partners including the World Bank Group, U.S Government, African Development Bank (AfDB), and others on key imperatives for developing infrastructure for deploying fibre optic broadband across Nigeria and implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) frameworks across the Global South.”

Wednesday:

  • Dr. Tijani’s first official activity for the day was a meeting with Will Stevens, U.S Chargé d’Affaires, Ad Interim, and Christine Harbaugh, Economic Counselor, U.S Embassy, Abuja, in his office. Discussions at the meeting centred on how to support the Ministry in delivering on the objectives outlined in its Strategic Blueprint, especially on infrastructure development financing, upcoming Artificial Intelligence (AI) Conference, launch of Nigeria Startup House, and more. Also at the meeting, the Honourable Minister officially received an invitation to the U.S later this year to engage multi-sector stakeholders in high-level conversations around technology and innovation for growth and development.
  • He then attended the All Progressives Congress (APC) e-Register Train the Trainers’ Workshop where he delivered an address on the importance of technology in bringing a more diverse demographic, particularly the younger population, to participate in the political process. The event was attended by the Party Chairman, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje; Honourable Minister for Innovation, Science & Technology, Uche Nnaji; Members of the National Working Committee; and other APC chieftains.
  • The Honourable Minister’s next engagement was a virtual meeting with Ayotunde Coker, CEO, Open Access Data Centres (OADC) to discuss issues around implementing the recently approved initiative to facilitate the delivery of 90,000km of fibre-optic cable which is poised to take Nigeria’s connectivity backbone to a minimum of 125,000km.
  • Dr. Tijani later had another virtual meeting, this time with a representative of ICEYE Limited, Toni Pöllänen. The meeting was to explore areas of collaboration between the Finnish microsatellite manufacturing company and the Ministry with a view to advancing Nigeria’s digital transformation objectives. The Honourable Minister had recently embarked on an official trip to Finland where he engaged with key public and private sector stakeholders on driving critical investments to Nigeria.
  • His last engagement of the day was a meeting with representatives of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to discuss updates on the proposed Fibre Fund set up to deploy fibre optic broadband across Nigeria and drive down cost of connectivity.
  • AfDB was represented by Uyoyo Edosio, Principal Innovation and Digital Expert and Nick Williams, Head, ICT Operations Division.

Thursday:

  • The Honourable Minister travelled to San Francisco, U.S where he joined other global technology sector leaders at the ‘Atoms 4 Peace’ for Artificial Intelligence Workshop organised by the Stanford University Centre for International Security and Cooperation. Dr. Tijani was invited for the Workshop in recognition of his leadership role in advancing the course of AI globally, and particularly as a representative voice for the Global South in conversations around the cutting-edge technology. Themed ‘Lessons from the Nuclear Age for AI’, conversations on the first day of the Workshop, which was a working dinner, centred around governance and regulation for AI using occurrences in the Nuclear Age as cross-reference.

Friday

  • Discussions on Day 2 of the Stanford University Artificial Intelligence (AI) A4P Workshop focused on AI infrastructure and examining varying perspectives around the benefits of the technology between the Global North and South. In his wide ranging comments during the workshop, the Honourable Minister spoke extensively on the potential effect of AI on productivity from the perspective of the Global South, as well as the need for AI to be inclusive. He also spoke about the challenges around misinformation and the potential lack of trust that this could cause. He emphasised the need for developments in the sector to focus on on addressing these challenges to ensure that the benefits of the technology outweigh any potential misuse. Organisations represented at the Workshop include the US State Department, Department of Commerce, Stanford University, Meta, OpenAI, Microsoft, Google, Rockefeller Foundation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, McKinsey & Company, amongst other leading bodies working in the field of AI. The expectation is that the conversations and outputs from this workshop will serve as input into global efforts to shape the use and application of AI for the common good.

SATURDAY

  • While in San Francisco, Dr. Tijani visited the headquarters of Zipline, a global drone logistics company, with operations in Nigeria. He was taken around the facilities by Keenan Wyrobek, co-founder and CTO, and Miki Sofer, Senior Vice President, Partnerships. While on the tour, the Honourable Minister explored the possibilities of adapting the technology in multiple use cases including agriculture, healthcare and logistics in Nigeria. Both parties discussed potential cooperation to support the ongoing repositioning of NIPOST and the establishment of the Nigeria Startup House.
  • Following this meeting, the Honourable Minister made a quick stop at the Federal Government property being converted to become the Nigeria Startup House, located in the Presidio Heights neighbourhood of San Francisco.

Isime Esene

Office of the Honourable Minister

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