Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s communication technology minister. CC image courtesy of the World Economic Forum, on Flickr.
The Nigerian Ministry of Communication Technology is partnering with IBM to enable technology-driven solutions to resolve challenges in key sectors of the Nigerian economy.
In a joint statement, the ministry and IBM said to kickstart this process the ministry has coordinated a ministerial roundtable with IBM with a view to identifying technology adoption opportunities in the country and promoting the exchange of ideas between key government officials and IBM’s senior leadership team.
IBM earlier identified several “Grand Challenges” of concern to much of Africa and Nigeria in the areas of water and sanitation, energy management, financial services, transportation, public safety, healthcare and agriculture.
“The roundtable was aimed at initiating conversations between IBM subject matter experts and a high level government team with the ministries most affected by these “Grand Challenges” represented by their ministers or permanent secretaries,” the statement said.
“The Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Education, Finance, Federal Capital Territory, Health, Interior, National Planning, Communication Technology and Science & Technology were thus represented.”
The focus of the roundtable discussions was on the various processes necessary for facilitating the adoption of Smart Government solutions to enhance the development of Nigeria in the area of healthcare delivery, government to citizen engagement, transparency and accountability in government, as well as deploying ICTs for inclusive development.
Minister of Communication Technology Omobola Johnson stressed the importance of technology to development.
“Technology is a key driver of economic and social development that should be adopted to facilitate the development of key sectors of the economy for the benefit of Nigerians,” she said.
“The ministry is committed to ensuring that ICT is leveraged to enhance and facilitate the transformational development of Nigeria in critical sectors of the economy such as Power, Health, Education, Agriculture, Interior to enable inclusive development, job creation, transparency of governance and economic growth.”
IBM chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) Ginni Rometty at the roundtable highlighted IBM’s historic ties to Africa’s most populous nation, and expressed support for Nigeria’s technology development agenda being coordinated by the ministry.
“Technology innovation is a key ingredient for social and economic transformation, and critical for crossing the innovation divide. I am encouraged to see the Ministry of Communication Technology spearheading technology reforms in Nigeria, encouraging investment in key building blocks of growth such as education and skills, digital and physical infrastructure and scientific and technical research,” she said.
“IBM will partner with the government, businesses, academia and innovators to aid the adoption of new technologies which will tangibly support efforts to spur development in Nigeria.”