By Martin Ekpeke

Following what can be described as a productive week in San Francisco, Dr. Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, set his sights on Washington D.C. for the World Bank Group-organized Nigeria Week 2024.

This porch event served as a platform to showcase the burgeoning partnership between Nigeria and the World Bank in propelling the nation’s digital transformation journey.

At the one-week event, the Minister’s body language and outburst displayed a man who wants to prioritise infrastructure and capacity building as a foundation for a thriving digital economy. Thus, he recognized that a robust digital economy hinges on a strong foundation of infrastructure and a skilled workforce.

Throughout the week, he actively engaged with international partners to explore avenues for collaboration and support. He participated in a kickoff session with the World Bank’s Global Digital Development team, where the centerpiece of the discussion was Nigeria’s ambitious plan to construct a staggering 90,000 kilometers of fiber optic network.

This transformative project aspires to elevate Nigeria’s national fiber optic capacity to an impressive 125,000 kilometers. Upon completion, Nigeria will become a continental leader in this critical infrastructure domain, though trailing only South Africa and Egypt.

Also, during a panel discussion, Minister Tijani delivered a comprehensive overview of his strategic blueprint, a roadmap for cultivating Nigeria’s digital economy. He shed light on various initiatives spearheaded by his ministry, including the 3MTT program focused on training and capacity building, alongside infrastructure development projects like the Fibre Fund, Digital Public Infrastructure, Broadband Alliance, and Project 774LG Connectivity. According to him, these initiatives, meticulously crafted will provide the bedrock for propelling Nigeria’s digital aspirations.

The panel discussion included insightful contributions from Rebecca Conrad, Chief Investment Officer at the World Bank, Christine Zhenwei Qiang, Global Director of Digital Development, and Franz Drees-Gross, Director of Infrastructure for the Africa West Region at the World Bank Group.

Meanwhile, when questioned about Nigeria’s strategy to leverage the digital economy to address some of the existing challenges, Dr. Tijani emphasized the transformative potential of technology in boosting productivity across various sectors. He outlined Nigeria’s plan to strategically leverage its youthful population, a demographic boasting 70% under the age of 30, to bridge the global workforce talent gap in the digital realm.

Furthermore, the Minister underscored the importance of enhanced connectivity in fostering trust and empowering the private sector to drive innovation and tackle socio-economic hurdles.

On the sideline, Dr. Tijani convened a crucial meeting with a team from the World Bank, including Ida Mboob, Senior Digital Development Specialist, and Dr. Maryam Lawal, Digital Development Specialist. The discourse centered on exploring potential structures for a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) – a crucial entity tasked with overseeing the monumental fiber optic network expansion project.

A probe by ITPulse indicates that technical details are still being refined, with a dedicated stakeholder meeting planned for Abuja in the coming weeks.

The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is a presidential-approved project, championed by President Bola Tinubu. It promises to bridge the digital divide by connecting over 200,000 educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and social institutions. It is believed that this widespread connectivity will have a transformative impact on ensuring equitable access to the Internet for Nigerians across the nation.

Other activities where the Minister was involved include a meeting with representatives from WorldQuant University to explore avenues for collaboration in training and capacity-building initiatives aimed at bolstering Nigeria’s digital economy.

A proposal to design and launch an advanced Data Science program specifically designed for 3MTT program participants generated significant interest. The WorldQuant University team, led by John Endrud, Chief Executive Officer, and Professor Landry Signe, Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Regional Action Group for Africa and Chair of The Africa Dialogues, expressed their unwavering commitment to supporting Dr. Tijani’s vision through strategic capacity building programs.

Dr. Tijani concluded a successful week by engaging in a virtual meeting with representatives from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). Discussions revolved around the modalities for a U.S.-led delegation of Nigerian investors visiting Washington D.C. for the upcoming SelectUSA Investment Summit, followed by a high-level trade mission to Nigeria scheduled for July. The USTDA delegation was comprised of Julie LeBlanc, US Commercial Counselor to Nigeria, and Josh Egba, West Africa Representative.

In closing, Dr. Tijani’s week in Washington D.C. was marked by a relentless focus on realizing the objectives enshrined within the Knowledge and Infrastructure pillars of his Strategic Blueprint through proactive engagement with key international partners like the World Bank Group, United States Trade and Development Agency, and WorldQuant University.


ITPulse is a wholly information technology communication (ICT) news website, with a special focus on the African continent. The website provides up-to-date biz-tech news, analysis and comprehensive and thorough insight into the continent's ICT terrain

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