The Ministry of Communication Technology (MoCT) and IBM are collaborating to enable technology driven solutions that will resolve identified challenges in key sectors of the Nigerian economy.
In order to kickstart this process, the MoCT today 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 has earlier identified several “Grand Challenges” of concern to much of Africa and Nigeria in the areas of water and sanitation, energy management, financial services, human mobility (including transportation and 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 Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Education, Finance, Federal Capital Territory, Health, Interior, National Planning, Communication Technology and Science & Technology were thus represented.
Discussions centered 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, Mrs Omobola Johnson at the roundtable emphasized that “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 added that, “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’s Chairman and CEO, Virginia Rometty 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 of Communication Technology (MoCT). Ms. Rometty also reemphasized the company’s continued commitment to Nigeria’s scientific and technology development goals.
“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,” said Mrs. Rometty. “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.” she added.
Ms Rometty underscored IBM’s capacity to plug into the local technology ecosystem, supporting e-commerce and e-government initiatives, spurring the transfer and commercialization of new technologies from academia to industry, and deploying IBM’s proven assets and research capabilities to help resolve “some of Africa’s most pressing challenges such as energy, water, human mobility, agriculture, healthcare, financial inclusion and public safety.”
The roundtable ended with government and IBM officials resolving to work together on key research areas via the IBM Research Africa Lab that will leverage technology to create solutions to identified challenges and also on Best Practices for technology enabled government that can be leveraged for Nigeria.