78th UNGA: Nigeria’s Communications minister shares country’s agenda for connectivity, AI

By Na'ankwat Dariem, Abuja

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Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, has itemized his agenda at the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA).

The agenda includes expanding connectivity to bridge Nigeria’s digital divide; positioning Africa’s most populous country of over 200 million as a hub for AI training; leveraging technology, notably emerging technologies, to enhance productivity of critical sectors; and most importantly, fostering partnerships geared at increasing capital inflow to Nigerian startups via foreign direct investments (FDIs).

Tijani, who disclosed this in a recent post, is in President Bola Tinubu’s official delegation to New York, USA for the global event holding from Sept. 19 to Sept. 23.

According to the United Nations Foundation, the 78th UNGA is taking place at a time of unprecedented setbacks on global progress.

Adding that “The Earth is getting hotter, faster. Poverty and food insecurity are worsening, amid war and inflation. Humanitarian needs are escalating in scale and cost. Inequality is deepening.

“During UNGA 78, world leaders, including young leaders, will discuss and debate how to confront the global polycrisis, and find strategies to accelerate action on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Despite the global despair, Tijani expresses optimism in leveraging the UNGA platform to promote a new Nigerian government that is investment-focused.

Read script of Tijani’s UNGA agenda below;

Driving Nigeria’s Economic Growth through Global Partnerships in Innovation & Technology – My Agenda at UNGA 2023.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) serves as an annual convergence point for global leaders to deliberate on the myriad of challenges we collectively face and, more importantly, to co-create a future bolstered by unity and a shared vision.

As Nigeria positions itself at the nexus of technological innovation and sustainable development, my attendance at several events on the sidelines of the 78th session of UNGA 2023 takes on profound significance.

For our great nation, this year’s UNGA presents an opportune moment to align our strategies, initiatives and aspirations with the global community. Ahead of the start of what will be a busy week with global leaders and partners, I would like to elucidate on the top priorities that anchor my participation:

Expanding the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF): Connectivity is a catalyst for progress. As we work towards bridging the digital divide, we seek partnerships that can boost the USPF. Our goal is to connect a vast number of unserved and underserved communities in Nigeria, fostering inclusivity and ensuring that every Nigerian benefits from the digital revolution.

Positioning Nigeria as a Hub for AI Training: Nigeria brims with a vibrant pool of talent, potential and innovation. We aspire to put Nigeria on the global map as a premier destination for AI model training. Not only does this promise significant job creation, but it also emphasises our commitment to enhancing the inclusivity and robustness of AI datasets. We envision capturing the nuances of dark data from the global south, ensuring that AI solutions resonate with a diverse spectrum of lived experiences.

Accelerating Economic Diversification through Technology: The agenda set forth by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, champions economic diversification powered by technological applications. Our mission at the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy is clear – catalyse the productivity of critical sectors using technology.

To this end, we are in pursuit of partnerships that can increase capital inflow to Nigerian startups via Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), bolstering our entrepreneurial ecosystem and setting the stage for sustainable growth.

By collaborating with global leaders and stakeholders, we aim to bring forth a brighter, digital and inclusive future for Nigeria. It is an opportunity to reinforce our global ties, understand emerging trends and co-design pathways that can elevate the prosperity of our nation.

To a future built on partnerships, unity and innovation!

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