As part of efforts to accelerate the pace of technological advancement in Nigeria, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has met with operators of the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (Space X) headquarters in Hawthorne, California, as well as a meeting at the World Bank Headquarters and another meeting with Google Corporation in a bid to strengthen partnerships for the development of Nigeria’s digital economy.
The meetings with the World Bank and Google were held on the sidelines of the US-Africa Leaders’ Forum (USALF), which took place in Washington DC, United States of America, while the visit to Space X was a follow up to the events at the USALF.
Professor Pantami was received at Space X by the Vice President of Business Operations, Samuel (Chad) Gibbs IV, on behalf of Elon Musk, Founder and CEO of Space X. At the visit, both parties discussed how Space X can expand its presence in Nigeria, following their entry into the Nigerian market through the Starlink broadband service.
The Minister also asked the Space X team to consider sourcing some of its engineers from Nigeria’s digital talent pool.
During the visit, Pantami and his team were given a personalised tour of the SpaceX Rocket Manufacturing Facility, Starlink Assembly Line, and Product Development Facility. He also witnessed the live Space X rocket launch of 2 telecom satellites into orbit.
On the invitation of the World Bank Group, the Minister had a meeting with top officials of the Bank, including the Practice Manager for the World Bank’s Identification for Development (ID4D) and Digitizing Government to Person Payments (G2Px) Programs Vyjayanti Desai. Also at the meeting were the Director of Infrastructure, World Bank West African Region, Franz Drees-Gross, and World Bank’s Digital Development Practice Manager for Africa and the Middle East, Michel Rogy. The World Bank team commended the Minister for his great leadership, which has led to significant development in Nigeria’s digital economy sector. The meeting also discussed how the Bank can further partner with Nigeria to strengthen the digital economy ecosystem in areas such as infrastructure, skilling, cybersecurity, and digital identity.
Professor Pantami also had a meeting with the Vice-President, Government Affairs, and Public Policy at Google, Karan Bhatia. Mr. Bhatia was full of praise for the Honourable Minister for the significant progress that has been made in the digital transformation of the Nigerian economy.
He also commended the Minister over the Nigeria Startup Act, noting the potential of the legislation to serve as a catalyst for rapid development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. The Google Vice-President discussed the company’s growing focus on Africa and looks forward to expanding partnerships with Nigeria in areas such as skilling, cybersecurity, and cloud computing, among others.
The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, under Professor Pantami’s leadership, remains committed to implementing the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) in order to ensure that Nigeria’s digital economy remains a leading light, both in Africa and across the globe.
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