Pantami Chairs WSIS Forum 2022, Task Stakeholder Advisory Council To Drive SDGs
TECHDIGEST – Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami Tuesday 31st May 2022 formally chaired the on-going World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
An historic moment for Pantami, Nigeria and the continent, being the first time the forum will be chaired by an African since the first phase took place in Geneva from 10 to 12 December 2003. The then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and mainly African and Latin American government leaders championed the second phase of WSIS in Tunis in 2005 to make the Internet and modern telecoms more accessible to millions in developing economies.
The Nigerian minister led global economies that converged at the headquarters of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Geneva for WSIS Forum 2022 to declare the high-level policy sessions open.
Pantami leveraged on this year’s theme titled: ICTs for well-being, Inclusion and Resilience; WSIS Cooperation for Accelerating Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to call for more support for technological development through multi stakeholder engagements and collaborations between institutions and global economies.
Multi stakeholder engagements and collaborations are the enabling tools for global economic prosperity and development, said Pantami.
The 2022 chair of the WSIS Forum tasked participants from over one hundred countries on the need for post-event engagements to drive the requisite partnerships to make the SDGs achievable.
“There is a need for this forum to constitute a high level mult-istakeholder advisory council and a multi-stakeholder implementation committee to ensure that we continue to track and monitor outcomes and engagements post event.”
He added: “Today, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is no longer a choice but a necessity as the world has come to realise particularly during the pandemic, as technology enabled us to continue with our activities and especially the business of governance virtually”.
Using Nigeria as a case study, he said “Nigeria exited the recession brought about by the pandemic a year earlier than predicted, ahead of several other countries in spite of global projections, largely due to the influence of technologies. Available statistics further provide proof that ICT played a principal role in achieving this feat”.
In the last quarter of 2020, the Nigerian ICT Sector grew by 14.70% and 12.90% for the whole year, and the sector has continued to “make quantum leaps as we take advantage of resources at our disposal to enable economic development. Nigeria’s youthful population with an average age of 18.3 years, coupled with the advantage of having the largest economy on the African continent, positions it strategically to explore digital technologies for optimal growth.”
WSIS Forum 2022 consists of 11 high level panel discussions with globally recognised sector experts, policy makers, heads of governments, corporations and civil society organisations.