The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, accompanied by the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta is leading the Nigerian delegation to the ongoing Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2022.
The Mobile World Congress, the most influential conference and exhibition of stakeholders in mobile technology, innovation and connectivity, is taking place in Barcelona from February 28 to March 3, 2022. The Nigerian delegation will engage global players in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sphere to explore areas of strategic collaboration and investment for accelerating the growth of Nigeria’s emergent digital economy.
The Nigerian delegation is scheduled to participate in at least 33 sessions during MWC, organised by Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA). The gathering attracts the participation of biggest manufacturers, GSM operators, mobile brands, regulators and policy makers from across the world, showcasing innovations, new announcements, new products and emergent innovations.
Among the teams Pantami will lead other participants ftom Nigeria to meet, are Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), representatives the World Economic Forum (WEF), and other key actors in the global ICT ecosystem.
On arrival in Barcelona, Pantami, Danbatta and top echelon of the Nigerian delegation, hit the ground running by holding purposive strategic talks with Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA), a global organization advocating for laws and regulations that will lead to more efficient and effective spectrum utilisation.
The discussion focused on spectrum sharing and unlicensed technologies as well as progress of DSA’s work in this regard, with emphasis on how DSA's processes will benefit Nigeria. The meeting took place on February 28, 2022.
Same day, the Nigerian delegation also had a meeting with Nokia and discussed potential government initiatives and how NCC and Nokia can collaborate more strategically to accomplish some policy objectives and targets of the institutionalised digital digital economy processes in Nigeria.
On March 1, aside participation in other key sessions slated for the day, the Nigerian delegation met SpaceX, a satellite operator to discuss licensing and authorisation issues as the may affect SpaceX.
The Pantami-led delegation equally met with the representatives of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to explore and concretely engage about opportunities within the framework of the EDISON Alliance for Digital Inclusion, and the possibility of Nigeria becoming Lighthouse Country of the Alliance.
EDISON Alliance was launched by WEF to mobilise a global movement to prioritize digital inclusion as foundational to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is envisioned to enhance attainment of goals towards fostering affordable and accessible digital opportunities for everyone by 2025.
One significance of the deliberations with WEF is the readiness to leverage relationship with EDISON Alliance to accelerate and foster unprecedented collaboration between the ICT community and other critical sectors of the economy in order to advance Nigeria's vision on financial inclusion.
Indeed, on March 1, 2022, the Nigerian delegation is also scheduled to discuss with the MTN team, and thereafter proceed to attend a demo at Meta’s Exhibition Stand, where the CEO of Meta and owner of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is to call for global partnership to build the next world virtual reality (metaverse). A metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection.
On March 2, 2022, the Nigerian delegation will meet a United States (US) delegation to discuss collaboration on telecommunications and related ICT issues. The Nigerian delegation will also engage the exhibition by Huawei Technologies as well as chat with the company’s senior executive management.
Speaking at the influential, global technology congress, Pantami said “The high-level discussion which Nigerian delegation is having with both original equipment manufacturers and other key players in the ICT world will enhance deeper alliance, collaboration and bilateral synergy required to accelerate Nigeria’s vision for a real digital economy.”
Amplifying the Minister’s voice, Danbatta said Nigeria’s participation at the event on an annual basis is based on the realistaion that “MWC provides a vibrant deal-making environment for attendees, as it also remains a truly international exhibition attracting decision-makers in the mobile ecosystem which Nigeria is keen to explore to grow its telecoms and ICT industry.”
The 2022 MWC is being attended by mostly senior executives and management staff of over 2000 companies, institutions and entities from 183 countries.