Minister For Science And Technology, DFiD Boss Lead Discussions On Sustainable Development

By Uche Peter

Lagos, Nigeria, December 25, 2015: Nigeria’s Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and Head of Nigerian Office, Department for International Development Nigeria (DFiD), Mr. Ben Mellor are set to lead discussions on sustainable development when the seventh edition of the thought leadership series, Sustainable Conversations, gets under way at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja on Thursday, January 28, 2016.

Dr. Onu will be joined by other discussants among who are Ochapa Ogenyi of the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs; Dayo George, Corporate Director, Unilever Nigeria; Mr. Yusuf Kazaure, MD and CEO, Galaxy Backbone, and Dr. Hussaini Abdu, Country Director, PLAN International.

Sustainable Conversations is a thought leadership breakfast series that focuses on the development of key sectors in the country. This edition, with the theme: “Fast-tracking targets through Technology and Education.” is put together by Nigeria's most innovative and fastest growing telecommunications company, Etisalat, and renowned Management Consultancy firm, Thistle Praxis Consulting.

Commenting on Etisalat’s support for the thought leadership series, Ibrahim Dikko, Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Etisalat Nigeria said “Etisalat is delighted to be at the forefront of initiatives that can contribute to national development at all times. It is a further commitment of our company to being a very critical player in sustainable developments in Nigeria.”

He added that critical sectors in Nigeria such as the education and ICT sectors, like in all developing countries, are too important to be left to the government alone, and noted that they would require strategic interventions from all, including private individuals and corporate organisations.

Dikko also restated the company’s commitment to Nigeria just as he identified education as a major CSR major pillar alongside health and environment. “At Etisalat, we take education very seriously, so much so that presently we have five key interventions all aimed at raising educational excellence in the country.

Ini Onuk, Lead Consultant/CEO of ThistlePraxis Consulting Limited said the development of the education and technology sector would be the first step towards achieving United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. According to her, education and technological development are two important sectors that can transform the entire continent by 2030 through the attainment of the global goals if well harnessed.

“Education is crucial to the development of any economy while the development of science and technology has been identified as a move towards the development of infrastructure which all African countries need the most. For Africa to achieve the SDGs, sound education policies that will wipe out mass illiteracy and give room for the utilization of the educated for the implementation of the goals, are urgently needed,” she said.

It is expected that the discussions will culminate in a white paper that would be forwarded to relevant organs of government and other stakeholders, while participants would reflect a select list of CEOs, captains of industry, sector professionals and experts, non-profit Institutions as well as the academia.