Isa Ali Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy of Nigeria held meetings at Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (Space X) headquarters in Hawthorne, California to discuss the expansion of the company’s presence in Nigeria, following their entry into the Nigerian market via the Starlink broadband service.
The minister was received on arrival by Samuel ‘Chad’ Gibbs IV, Vice President of Business Operations, Space X. The minister and his team were given a tour of the SpaceX Rocket Manufacturing Facility, Starlink Assembly Line, and Product Development Facility. The team also witnessed the live SpaceX rocket launch of 2 telecom satellites into orbit.
The Minister asked the Space X team to consider sourcing some of its engineers from Nigeria’s digital talent pool.
Prior to the SpaceX visit, the minister held meetings with the World Bank and Google Corporation on the sidelines of the US-Africa Leaders’ Forum (USALF), which took place in Washington DC, United States of America.
At the invitation of the World Bank Group, the Minister had a meeting with top officials of the Bank, including Vyjayanti Desai, the Practice Manager for the World Bank’s Identification for Development (ID4D) and Digitizing Government to Person Payments (G2Px) Programs. Also at the meeting were Franz Drees-Gross, Director of Infrastructure, World Bank West African Region, and Michel Rogy, World Bank’s Digital Development Practice Manager for Africa and the Middle East.
The World Bank team acknowledged the significant development in Nigeria’s digital economy sector under the leadership of the minister. The meeting also discussed how the World Bank can further partner with Nigeria to strengthen the digital economy ecosystem in areas such as infrastructure, skilling, cybersecurity, and digital identity.
[Pantami also had a meeting with Karan Bhatia, Vice-President, Government Affairs, and Public Policy at Google. Bhatia was full of praise for the Honourable Minister for the significant progress that has been made in the digital transformation of the Nigerian economy.
He also commended the Minister for Nigeria Startup Act, noting the potential of the legislation to serve as a catalyst for rapid development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. The Google Vice-President discussed the company’s growing focus on Africa and looks forward to expanding partnerships with Nigeria in areas such as skilling, cybersecurity, and cloud computing, among others.