Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has described his appointment as the Chairman, World Summit on Information Societies (WSIS) Forum, as a win not just for Nigeria, but the African continent.
The minister made this remark this week in a meeting with the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Mr Houlin Zhou at the ITU’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
“We are very pleased about the recognition accorded us based on our modest achievements within the sector. We consider the appointment not as a personal or national recognition but as a continental achievement because Nigeria is strategically the leader of the continent, the most populous country in Africa with the largest economy on the continent among other things, so occupying this position as the giant of Africa is an honour for Africa and an opportunity for us to continue to contribute our quota to the success of our sector globally. We assure you that we will give the maximum attention it requires,” said Pantami to the ITU’s Secretary General.
The minister also noted that “the sector has the support of the Federal Government of Nigeria and particularly President Muhammadu Buhari whose interventions have made the achievements in the sector possible.”
While commending Pantami, Zhao called on Nigeria’s minister to use his good offices as Chairman of the WSIS Forum to encourage the participation of other relevant sectors like education and agriculture in the WSIS process.
According to Zhao, this will enable the engagement of the global agriculture sector in the use of technologies to enhance food production and the use of emerging technologies to enhance education, among others.
Hiss words: “We have tried to engage Ministers of agriculture in various countries but we have not made the desired headway, so your excellency if you can help us enforce this strategy, it will make a difference. Nigeria occupies a very important position in Africa and the world and especially with your achievements in the ICT sector, we believe your influence will make a notable difference”.
Pantami assumed chairmanship of the WSIS Forum 2022 by interacting with high level track facilitators for the forum. He coordinated high level dialogue with partners in the session that covered ‘ICTs for Well-Being, Inclusion and Resilience: WSIS Cooperation for Accelerating Progress on the SDGs.’
The section was moderated by Mr. Malcolm Johnson, Deputy Secretary-General, ITU. The panellists included: Ms. Mashael Ali Yousef Al Hammadi, Acting Assistant Undersecretary of Government Information Technology Affairs, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Qatar; Mr. Yoichi Kanda, Director, Global Strategy Division, Global Strategy Bureau, Japan; Mr. Alpesh Shah, Senior Director of Global Business Strategy & Intelligence Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); Dr Zhong Luo, Chair, ITU-T SG16 VP, Standards & Industry Development, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., China; Ms. Janet Umutesi, Senior Manager, Quality Assurance – RURA & ITU Direct Focal Point, Rwanda; Ms. Constance Bommelaer de Leusse, Vice President, Institutional Relations and Empowerment, Internet Society (ISOC). Remote participation in the session had Mr. Antonio Vitorino, Director General, IOM; and Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, UN-Habitat Habitat.
The WSIS forum serves as a key assembly for discussing the role of ICTs as a means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets with regard to the global mechanism for follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UNGA Resolution A/70/1).
The summit also provides a platform to track the achievements of WSIS Action Lines in collaboration with the UN agencies involved and provides information and analysis of the implementation of WSIS Action Lines since 2005.
Pantami will serve as forum chairman for the 2022 gathering and is to retain the position for a year, according to a statement by his spokesperson, Mrs. Uwa Suleiman in a statement released this week.