2017 Tutu Fellow Bosun Tijani PhD has been named as Nigeria's Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy. Bosun is a tech entrepreneur who started CcHub, a lab for technologists, software developers, entrepreneurs, tech companies, investors, and other stakeholders in Lagos, and then replicated that success in Rwanda.
His appointment to the post represents a break from the norm of civil servants and career politicians being responsible for Nigeria’s fast-growing digital economy. He takes over from Isa Pantanmi, who formerly served as the director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Bosun's appointment was not without controversy. He had faced opposition from lawmakers over critical tweets about Nigeria’s politics previously. But in a speech to parliament addressing the controversy, he put it to rest.
Local tech news publications report that although he won’t be the first startup founder to serve in government, it will be the first time that a member of the tech ecosystem will be getting a cabinet position, creating a new level of validation. The 46-year-old, who co-founded one of the most influential tech incubators on the continent, will now be tasked with driving impactful policies to support the ecosystem he has helped build. Just last week, Obi Ozor, the CEO of Kobo360, a logistics startup, was appointed as commissioner of transport in Enugu.
Tijani has led the expansion of CcHub across Nigeria, Kenya, and more recently, Namibia. From its humble beginnings in Yaba, CcHub has become a significant catalyst for tech advancement in Africa by empowering young people with the tools, communities, and capital they need to launch impactful ventures. With a billion naira growth fund, CcHub has committed to impacting over 95 early-stage businesses including those bringing innovation to Africa’s education and healthcare systems.
He has also sought to add a greater degree of transparency to the position by posting about his ministerial activities to LinkedIn. In one Minister's Week in Review, for example, the report included attending the inaugural Executive Council Meeting presided over by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu; launching a white paper on nationa Artificial Intelligence strategy; joining tech training stakeholders to develop the president's strategy technology training strategy; meeting the World Bank Country Director; staying up to speed with internal departmental activities and priorities; shaping the agenda of the Digital Nigeria International Conference - and that was just up to Wednesday.