By Frank Momoh
The President, Microsoft Corporation, Mr. Brad Smith, has commended the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Ibrahim Pantami, on his leadership qualities and drive that has positively impacted on the nation’s economy.
He added that Pantami’s strides in the sector has drawn global attention to Nigeria.
Smith, who was recently described by New York Times as ‘a defacto ambassador for technology industry at large was on a working visit to the Minister’s office on Friday, said his team is excited about the future Nigeria, especially concerning the overarching role the Minister is playing in repositioning the sector.
He said: “We are excited about the opportunity for digital transformation which is the centre of your vision for the country. We are thankful to you for launching the Microsoft Development Centre in Lagos.
“That was a huge step for Microsoft and it reflected our belief in the future of Nigeria. Already, we have more than one hundred software developers working in Lagos and we hope to have 300 by next year.
“We are committed to building our digital infrastructure here and we are committed to investing and sustaining the relationship with your Ministry”
On digital skills, Smith said Microsoft has 700 people who are trained to be trainers and we need to get that number up to 17,000 so they can fan out and train the youths across the country.
“We are also committed to partnerships in expanding broadband connectivity across different parts of Nigeria, adding that the corporation is especially to Nigerian government in helping companies like theirs expand their presence in the country.” He said.
In his response, the Minister conveyed the federal government’s appreciation to Microsoft for citing the Africa Development Centre in Nigeria. “This is particularly beneficial to our young innovators.
“We are also appreciative of the current training of our citizens by Microsoft as this has given a commendable boost to our digital skills capacity building initiatives’”.
The Minister assured the President and his delegation of government’s unwavering support for investors in the sector and the country at large.
The meeting was attended by the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Crole Ann Browne, Chief of Staff to the Microsoft President, Teresa Hutson VP Tech and Corporate Responsibility, Daniel Brown, External and Legal Affairs Lead Middle East and Africa, John Edokpolo External and Legal Affairs Lead for MEA Emerging Markets, Ola Williams, Country Manager for Nigeria and Ghana and Nonye Ujan Government Affairs Lead for the MEA Emerging Markets.