Katsina State Economic and Investment Summit 2016

Goodwill Message by Amina Oyagbola, Human Resources and Corporate Services Executive, MTN Nigeria at opening ceremony of the inaugural Katsina State Economic and Investment Summit 2016 in Katsina on Tuesday May 10, 2016.

His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, (GCFR), President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

His Excellency, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari, Governor, Katsina State

Honourable Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah,

Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Godwin Emefiele

Honourable Members of the Katsina State Executive Council here present

Distinguished Speakers, Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the Board and Management of MTN Nigeria, I congratulate the Katsina State Government for hosting this maiden Economic and Investment Summit. I would also like to express our appreciation for the warm reception since our arrival.  Indeed, Katsina State has lived up to its name as the Home of Hospitality!

This first summit which aims to explore further avenues for unlocking the investment potential of Katsina state is a worthy initiative and I commend His Excellency, Governor Masari for his continued efforts to diversify the state’s economy as well as improve the operating environment for business.

Already, the Federal Government, under the leadership of Mr. President has taken steps to reverse our standing on the Global Ease of Doing Business Index, and by following their lead, the Katsina State Government’s efforts will ensure greater business productivity and competitiveness as well as boost public-private partnership and enable creation of more jobs for sustained development.

As we start and continue this critical discourse, I trust that we will interrogate several key areas that present immediate opportunities for growth and as we seek greater competitiveness and productivity for the state, it is instructive to note that Katsina has a number of advantages in its favour. As one of the most populous states in Nigeria, with a large population and high number of productive youth, both are solid assets for leveraging high-growth sectors such as Agriculture, Transportation, Education, Hospitality, etc.

Speaking of assets and resources, I am pleased to say that ICT is a powerful resource for unlocking potential and unleashing transformation leading to greater efficiency and productivity in Katsina State.

At MTN, we consider it a privilege to be a part of the positive change that is powered by ICT and believe that in every sector, there are ICT solutions for improving processes and empowering people. A case in point is the challenges with cattle grazing and the judicious use of available land. His Excellency, Governor Masari had expressed his belief in our ability to devise a solution and sir, we are pleased to say that we have done just that.

I am proud to announce that MTN has developed a software – called the MTN Livestock Tracking Solution. This ICT solution can track the location of cattle; send panic or emergency alerts to the authorities in time of trouble and even help with creating grazing areas separate from farmlands. It makes use of GPS technology and is solar powered to ensure that you can always stay in touch with your cattle, everywhere you go!

We are also proud to share with you yet another innovative product – our mobile electricity service in partnership with the world’s first distributed utility provider; Lumos who are bringing clean, modern and affordable electricity to MTN customers in rural areas. Customers can therefore replace kerosene lanterns, candles and flashlights with electricity that can power phones, fans, radios, TVs, all at once! This service is already up and running in Katsina state! We are truly excited about these products and their implications for accelerated socio-economic development for the good people of Katsina. Our team and partners will be sharing more details of both products as well as showcasing more on these technologies later on during this summit. You are all cordially invited to attend.

Ladies and Gentlemen, indeed ICT is the future and MTN is committed to supporting Katsina and indeed Nigeria to ensure preparedness and empowerment towards this future. This is why we also continue to invest in various projects that will promote understanding of ICT, especially in our schools and other learning institutions.

Through the MTN Foundation, we have established various educational and learning projects in at least 12 schools in Katsina state. These projects are the MTN Foundation SchoolsConnect Project, the Science & Technology Laboratory Project and the Learning Support Facility Project. We have also given out scholarships to deserving students from Katsina State under the MTNF Science and Technology Scholarship Scheme as well as the MTNF Scholarship Scheme for Blind Students.

Among other things, these projects are designed to enable teachers and students in Nigerian public secondary schools to gain confidence and an understanding of how ICT can add value to their lives and learning.

Other projects we have implemented in Katsina State which amount to a total investment of xxx Naira to date include: Rural Telephony Project, Disability Support Project, Security Support Project, Orphanage Support Initiative and our latest project – the MTN Foundation What Can We Do Together initiative, where we carry out projects based on nominations by members of the public through SMS. In the first phase of this initiative, we have implemented a total of 200 projects in 200 communities across 200 local government areas in Nigeria.

What makes these 200 projects special, is that they were nominated by members of the public, ordinary Nigerians. For instance, in Katsina, people like Abdulkadir Mamman requested that we provide transformers for his community. Today, we have provided transformers that power the Garama, Sabuwar and Kasuwa communities.  Other citizens such as Abdulwali Umar noted that the Government Science Secondary School, Musawa was in need of furniture. He sent an SMS to the MTN Foundation and we have provided the furniture.

These are just some examples of people who have been able to take advantage of the change that is possible in their communities through ICT. Permit me to add that the second phase of the What Can We Do Together initiative kicks off tomorrow May 11 in Abuja. We will be sharing more details of how you can partner with the MTN Foundation to improve the quality of life in your community.

In conclusion, there are several other areas that ICT can help position Katsina as a veritable hub for investment in Nigeria. We at MTN are already preparing for what promises to be an exciting future for Katsina, and we remain committed to working with government and other partners as well as leading and promoting continuous investment to achieve the laudable goals set at both State and Federal levels.

Once again, I congratulate the Katsina State Government for hosting this economic summit, I commend all the members of the organizing committee for their tireless efforts since last year when the planning began and I wish us all very fruitful deliberations.

Thank you for your attention.

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