Posted on:

June 2, 2024

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

HM World Bank1

INTRO [May 27 – 31]

Dr. Tijani took advantage of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s first year anniversary as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, to highlight some of the administration’s sterling achievements on the back of wide-ranging initiatives geared at accelerating development through innovation and technology, and growing Nigeria’s digital economy for the benefit of all.

KEY FOCUS

Infrastructure Development: Recognising its critical importance in enabling accelerated growth, the Honourable Minister is focused on maintaining and developing the infrastructure needed to drive technological innovation and economic advancement in Nigeria. 

This informed his engagement at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) where he led conversations on the protection of submarine cables, meeting with World Bank representatives to facilitate the delivery of 90,000km of fibre-optic cable across the country, and deliberation on the implementation plan for building a semiconductor space in Nigeria. 

TIMELINE

Monday:

  • The Honourable Minister started his week in Geneva, Switzerland where he was scheduled to take part in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+20 Forum) High-Level Event. To kick-off his engagement, Dr. Tijani joined other panellists at the WSIS Moon Shot session to reflect on the Summit’s achievements in the last 20 years and envision the possibilities ahead in an ever-evolving digital era. The session was moderated by Tomas Lamanauskas, Deputy Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
  • Following that session, the Honourable Minister engaged in a Bilateral Meeting with Tomas Lamanauskas, Deputy Secretary-General, ITU, to discuss issues around safeguarding global connectivity. This is on the back of the leading role played by the Honourable Minister weeks back following submarine cable cuts which affected telecoms connectivity in several countries. 
  • He later had a bilateral meeting with H.E Dr. Mohammed Altamim, Governor of Communications, Space and Technology, Saudi Arabia to discuss areas of interest to both countries. The Saudi Arabian delegation also used the opportunity to invite the Honourable Minister for an international government forum scheduled to take place later this year in Riyadh. 
  • After this, Dr. Tijani had discussions with H.E Dr. Agne Vaiciukeviciute, Vice Minister of Transport and Communication of the Republic of Lithuania to explore areas for possible collaboration – especially in cybersecurity and digital governance.
  • He then met with H.E Deeyah AlYahya, Secretary General of the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) to deliberate on the role of the vibrant and dynamic startup ecosystem in driving economies and the importance of enabling policies and infrastructure in promoting them.
  • His last activity on Monday at the WSIS was an official interview where he outlined his Ministry’s efforts to boost internet connectivity in unserved and underserved communities across Nigeria. He also spoke extensively on the progress so far made in implementing Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) towards improving public service to the people. 

Tuesday:

  • Dr. Tijani joined a panel to discuss issues around the spread of online misinformation and its negative impact on societies worldwide. The session which was themed, ‘Truth in the Digital Age: Combating Misinformation for a Thriving Digital Economy’, was moderated by H.E Deemah AlYahya, Secretary-General, Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO).
  • He then took part in another panel session to discuss issues round developing a multilateral approach towards protecting shared infrastructure such as submarine cables across multi-stakeholders. Dr. Tijani and his co-panellists ​​took the opportunity to highlight potential actions that could be undertaken to encourage subsea connectivity resilience.
  • His next engagement was a bilateral meeting with a delegation from the United States of America at WSIS +20 Forum led by its Chief Development Officer, Amb. Stephan Lang. Both parties discussed areas of interest to both countries. Dr. Tijani’s final official activity on Day 2 of WSIS was a Ministerial Round Table where he joined fellow Ministers at the Summit to, amongst other resolutions, acknowledge the potential of technology for both positive and negative uses, while calling for greater responsibility and accountability from platform providers in combatting online threats.

“Last week, the Honourable Minister’s activities focused on the Infrastructure pillar objectives of his Strategic Blueprint as he engaged with local and international partners and stakeholders on developing necessary infrastructure towards facilitating broadband penetration, protecting submarine cables, and building a semiconductor space in Nigeria.”

Wednesday:

  • The Honourable Minister returned to Nigeria from the WSIS just in time to celebrate President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s first year in office. To mark the day, Dr. Tijani released a series of videos highlighting his Ministry’s strategic initiatives implemented in alignment with the President’s Renewed Hope Agenda.
  • Dr. Tijani hosted in his office the Acting Country Director of the World Bank, Taimur Samad, to discuss strategic partnerships around digital literacy & digital skills, cybersecurity, and identity management. Another topic of discussion was the rollout of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) recently approved by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to facilitate the delivery of 90,000km of fibre-optic cable, complementing Nigeria’s existing connectivity infrastructure and delivering a stronger national backbone for universal access to the internet.
  • Next was an update meeting with the team from Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) geared at executing the strategic plan for the revitalisation of the postal service. This follows the extensive workshop session initiated by the Honourable Minister weeks ago to fashion out ways of reimagining NIPOST for maximum efficiency. The NIPOST team was led by its Postmaster General, Tola Odeyemi
  • Following this meeting, Dr. Tijani joined a virtual call with Kofo Akinkugbe, Founder/CEO, SecureID Limited to receive updates on the implementation plan for building a semiconductor space in Nigeria. The Honourable Minister had, weeks ago, visited Swansea University in Wales, United Kingdom to engage with the institution’s management on ways to boost Nigeria’s semiconductor sector.

Thursday:

  • Dr. Tijani hosted a delegation from the European Union (EU) led by Inga Stefanowicz, Head of Section Green and Digital Economy at EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS. Discussions at their meeting touched on diverse issues including the Broadband Alliance, Digital Transformation Centre, Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy. Also discussed are modalities surrounding Nigeria’s attendance at the upcoming EU Business Forum scheduled for July. 
  • The Honourable Minister’s next engagement was a meeting Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Permanent Secretary, Special Duties Office (SDO), Office of the Head of Service, to deliberate on the development of a new Email Policy for Nigerian Civil Servants. Also present at the meeting were Engr. Faruk Yusuf Yabo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications, Innovation & Digital Economy and Prof. Ibrahim Adeyanju, MD/CEO, Galaxy Backbone Limited.
  • Next on his schedule was a meeting with a delegation from the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation represented by Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Chairman & Co-Founder, and Ofovwe Aig-Imoukhuede, Executive Vice-Chair & Co-Founder of the Foundation. The aim of the meeting was to leverage their Foundation’s experience in supporting transformation efforts in government as we build on our Digital Public Infrastructure plans.
  • Dr. Tijani later met with Fola Fagbule, Deputy Director and Head of Financial Advisory at Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) to discuss the Federal Government’s plan towards the roll out of the recently approved Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the 90,000km fibre-optic project.
  • The Honourable Minister attended the May edition of DevsInGovernment event where he announced the Government’s plan to train 10,000 Civil Servants on effective data management. Speakers on this month’s panel themed, ‘Responsible Data Management in the Public Sector’, include Dr. Tolulope Pius-Fadipe, Head, Research and Development, Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC); Amb. Segun Olugbile, CEO, Data Analytics Privacy Technology Limited; and Chiderah Ike-Okonkwo, Head, Innovation Unit, Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC).

Friday

  • Dr. Tijani attended the AgriConnect Summit in Lagos where he spoke on the Role of Technology in Strengthening Nigeria’s Agriculture Sector. The Honourable Minister highlighted the emergence of a strong digital innovation system for Agriculture in Africa and some specific considerations for driving a more efficient Agric sector in Nigeria through the application of technology. The event, which brings together stakeholders across the agricultural value chain to collaborate and foster a vibrant community dedicated to agricultural advancement, was chaired by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR and had other notable attendees in attendance.
  • His next engagement was an inspection tour of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) Lagos Zonal Office at Ijora. The Honourable Minister was accompanied on this tour by Tola Odeyemi, Nigeria’s Postmaster General.

Isime Esene

Office of the Honourable Minister

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