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Keynote Lecture & Plenary 4

Friday, 8 October 2021 | 09:00 - 10:30 | Room Athena [Main Auditorium]


Driving the implementation of the national digital economy policy for a Digital Nigeria: the journey so far



Isa Ali Ibrahim

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy


Isa Ali Ibrahim, PhD (Pantami) is the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Professor Ibrahim obtained a Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science (B.Tech), from the Federal University of Technology, known as the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, and proceeded to acquire two Masters Degrees from the same institution in quick succession. One in Computer Science (MSc) and the other, an MBA in Technology Management. His scholarly pursuits then led him to the Robert Gordon University Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom, where he obtained a Doctorate in Computer Science (PhD), specialising in Computer Information Systems. He is also a Professor of Cybersecurity.

Prior to his appointment as a Minister, he was the Director General (DG)/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). He is currently the Chief Digital Officer of the Federation, based on the National Policy for Virtual Engagements in Federal Public Institutions. He has also been a Chairman and member of several Presidential and Inter-Ministerial Committees, including Committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonisation, National Committee on Export Promotion, Digital Identity Ecosystem Steering Committee, National Action Committee on African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA). He was also appointed as AfCFTA Champion for Communications and Digital Economy, as well as Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee for National Identity.

Under the leadership of Professor Ibrahim, as the first Minister of Digital Economy, a National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (2020 - 2030) and National Broadband Plan (2020 - 2025) were developed, among others, and many unprecedented successes recorded. In less than a year, as the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the lingering issue of excessive Right of Way charges and vandalism of telecommunication infrastructure have been effectively addressed. Under his stewardship, broadband penetration increased by more than 10% in a year, instead of the average annual increase of about 1.7%, and the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector contributed an unprecedented 17.83% to the GDP based on the Q2 2020 GDP Report by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The ICT sector was also the fastest growing sector of the Nigerian economy in the 4th Quarter of 2020, growing at a rate of 14.70%. He initiated the first Virtual Federal Executive Council and first National Security Council meeting on the 13th of May 2020 and has been coordinating the technical aspects of the meetings since then. This saved government money running into billions of Naira monthly.

Recently, his achievements have led to him being recognised and awarded with; the 2020 Minister of the Year Award by the Blueprint Newspaper; Most Outstanding Minister of the Year 2021 by Elite Exclusive Magazine; and Digital Economy Driver Award by the National Body of Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), amongst others. In fact, he has received over 150 awards from 2017 to date.

Professor Ibrahim also holds certificates in Digital Transformation from Harvard University, Digital Strategy from both Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Institute of Management Development (IMD), Lausanne, Switzerland, Strategic Leadership from Oxford University, and a University of Cambridge Certification in Management. The dynamic, inspirational agent of transformation is also a conflict resolution expert with national and international experiences in that regard. Professor Ibrahim lectured at various universities for almost two decades, teaching ICT courses. He is still engaged with the academia voluntarily, as a professor. During his early days, Professor Ibrahim was a lecturer at the Federal University of Technology, Bauchi.

Ibrahim is a recipient of several global awards and is a well sought-after speaker, delivering convocation lectures in a number of public and private universities, including the Federal University of Technology Minna, the Nile University, the Federal University Kashere and the National Defence College, among others. He has also served as a Speaker at leading global events like Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona, Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) in Dubai, the GSMA Africa Policy Leaders Forum, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Las Vegas and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) events, amongst others.

As an expert in key fields like the digital economy and cybersecurity, he also teaches and serves as a resource person to several institutions, including the National Defence College, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Imo State, Nigerian Army Resource Centre, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies.

He is the Champion of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP), Abuja- a global initiative that helps regions accelerate economic growth and promote social progress through Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship (IDE). He has published several academic articles in high impact journals, presented papers in more than 150 conferences and published several books. He has also visited over 30 countries.

Isa Ali Ibrahim who is popularly known as the Digital Minister, is a global IT citizen, a revered and highly respected Fellow of the Nigerian and British Computer Societies, as well as a Fellow of Cybersecurity Group of the British Computer Society. He is happily married with children.


Local Organisation Chair '21
Yannis Charalabidis
University of the Aegean


Michael Psallidas
Nikos Vasilakis
Greek Research & Technology Network (GNERT)