Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Digital Economy: Pantami Meets SpaceX, World Bank, Google

SpaceX Pantami
L-R: The vice president of business operations, Space X, Samuel (Chad) Gibbs IV; Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami and the director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi during the visit to SpaceX headquarters in Washington DC, USA.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami has held meetings at Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) headquarters in Hawthorne, California, as well as with the World Bank headquarters and Google Corporation in a bid to strengthen partnerships for the development of Nigeria’s digital economy. 

While 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, the visit to Space X was a follow-up to the events at the USALF.

Pantami was received at Space X by the vice president of business operations, Samuel (Chad) Gibbs IV, on behalf of the founder and CEO. Elon Musk. Both parties discussed how Space X can expand its presence in Nigeria, following its entry into the Nigerian market through the Starlink broadband service.  

Also, the minister 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. 

At the invitation of the World Bank Group, Pantami had a meeting with top officials of the bank, including Vyjayanti Desai, the practice manager for the World Bank’s identification for development (ID4D) and digitizing government-to-person payments (G2Px) Programmes. 

Also at the meeting were the director of infrastructure, World Bank West African Region, Franz Drees-Gross and the 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.

Also, Pantami had a meeting with the vice-president, government affairs, and public policy at Google, Karan Bhatia. 

Bhatia was full of praise for the minister for the significant progress that has been made in the digital transformation of the Nigerian economy. 

He also commended the minister for the Nigeria Startup Act, noting the potential of the legislation to catalyse rapid development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. 

Bhatia discussed the company’s growing focus on Africa and looked forward to expanding partnerships with Nigeria in areas such as skilling, cybersecurity, cloud computing, among others.

A statement signed by the commission’s director, public affairs, Reuben Muoka, said the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, under Pantami’s leadership, remains committed to implementing the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) to ensure that Nigeria’s digital economy remains a leading light, both in Africa and across the globe.

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