Keynote Address by the Honourable Minister of Communications & Digital Economy at the Launch of Storm: Galaxy Backbone Services South East & South South Regions

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  • July 6, 2021
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All Protocols duly observed.
May Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon you!
Its gives me great pleasure to be at this special event as the Chief Host and Special Guest of Honour, which marks the launching and unveiling of STORM- A Fibre Connectivity and Digital Services platform, powered by Galaxy Backbone, for the South-East and South-South regions of our dear nation, Nigeria.
I would like to congratulate Galaxy Backbone and its project partners for achieving this great feat which provides a platform to deliver fast and efficient Internet and Hosting services for the South-East and South-South region of the country.
Nigeria’s Digital Transformation Agenda
Since 2019, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy has championed the country’s Digital Transformation agenda in efforts to position it as one of the leading Digital Economies in the world. To achieve this aim, we developed the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) (2020-20230) with the clear vision “to transform Nigeria into a leading Digital Economy providing quality life and digital economies for all”, and a mission to “build a nation where digital innovation and entrepreneurship are used to create value and prosperity for all”.
The STORM initiative is in line with the National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria (2020 – 2030). In particular, it supports the implementation of Pillar #3 (the Solid Infrastructure Pillar). It is also in alignment with the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020 – 2025). Broadband connectivity plays a major role in the economic fortunes of countries around the world and a 10% increase in broadband penetration can lead to growth in Gross Domestic Product in the region of 0.6 to 2.8%.
Furthermore, the use of broadband technology goes beyond facilitating socialization. Rather, it supports key sectors of the economy, such as the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). These enterprises are a critical part of the Nigerian economy and broadband access enables then to extend their services beyond their physical locations through the use of e-commerce platforms.
STORM is a significant milestone in support of the Federal Government’s efforts to accelerate broadband penetration across cities and underserved communities. It will support us in meeting the target of the NNBP, which aims to achieve a 90% broadband penetration by 2025.
The STORM Platform
The STORM platform has the capacity to provide non-stop high-speed internet and hosting services across Enugu, Ebonyi, Owerri, Portharcourt, Awka, Onitsha and Asaba cities. Among others, this will increase accessibility to internet services for businesses and residences at these locations, thereby improving the quality of citizens’ lives. It will also provide an enabling environment for existing businesses and create opportunities for new businesses.
Furthermore, according to a World Bank report, “Africa has the opportunity to harness the Digital Economy as a driver of growth and innovation, but if it fails to bridge the digital divide, its economies risk isolation and stagnation”. As a nation we are committed to ensuring that we exploit the opportunities of the Digital Economy.
Through platforms like STORM we are extending the provision of internet services beyond major cities in the country, thereby deepening broadband penetration across the country to overcome the existing digital divide. A 2021 Report by Statistica shows that Nigeria had over 154 million internet users in 2020, the largest in the whole of Africa, followed by Egypt with 54.74 million users.
In the same year, it seemed as though operations were stalled due to the novel COVID-19 pandemic. It will interest you to know that at the height of the pandemic last year, when it seemed as though government interactions and communications could grind to a halt due to the inability to hold physical Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings. I mandated the Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone and his team to ensure that the FEC meetings continued virtually in spite of the pandemic. I am delighted that Galaxy Backbone used its Digital and Communications infrastructure to achieve this, providing a secure platform to connect the members at the FEC meetings from their respective locations. Since May 13th 2020 when the virtual meetings commenced, we have conducted about 50 successful and hitch-free Virtual FEC meetings using the Galaxy Backbone’s platform.
Nigeria is endowed with enormous potentials, and it is my belief that Digital Services will expand and strengthen the development of these potentials. I therefore encourage us to work together to ensure that we expand the wealth and prosperity of our nation.
On this note, I would like to thank the team from GBB and Interra Network team for putting this launch together. I look forward to receiving good news on the great value to be impacted by STORM in the coming months. The Digital Economy cannot be implemented in isolation or in silos. As such, the path of partnership being pursued by GBB is the right path.
Thank you for your attention and I wish you a fine celebration of the launch of STORM, and an expansion of the possibilities using this platform.
On behalf of our boss, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, I hereby unveil and launch STORM. I pray to the almighty to make it very successful one.
May the Almighty bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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