Assessing the Impact of ICTs on the Attainment of MDGs in Nigeria

All day tomorrow (from 8am until midnight), I will be discussing the topic, “Assessing the Impact of ICTs on the Attainment of MDGs in Nigeria”. Thanks to the technology platform provided by FaceBook, NaijaPulse, Twitter, my personal website and my blog, I will engage participants of what has been described by the organizers as a “Wall to Wall” conference in a push-and-pull conversation that can be followed real-time by anyone that has access to the internet. Unlike a regular conference where only few people get to ask questions after the resource person has made his/her presentation, this “Wall to Wall” conference presents the opportunity for a day-long process that gives as much room to discussion as it does questions and answers.

When Oyebisi Oluseyi mentioned the idea some weeks back, I was quick to say yes because I could see the potential impact of such a new way to engage. Let’s face it, Facebook walls are probably become the most visited public places these days. We check for new gist about friends, leave a line or two for those we wish to get their attention, and also check up on our not-so-liked friends with the hope that you would read something that could give you the liberty to laugh at them. Using this public eSquare for the purpose of this discussion thus shows how far we have gone in social interaction. And that in itself is a demonstartion of how technology can impact the way we live.

I am writing this ahead of the discussions to provide links to some background materials that can help during the discussion. For some background reading on the MDGs, please visit the United Nations website; and for ICTs in Nigeria, feel free to download an earlier report of mine (that discusses the status of ICTs in Nigeria) at www.pinigeria.org/download/ngictupdate2007.pdf. At 8am (0700 GMT) tomorrow, I will leave a short message on my FaceBook wall to kick-start the discussions. To broaden the scope of the discussions, I’ll be using my networked platforms (FaceBook, NaijaPulse, Twitter, my personal website and my blog) since entries on my NaijaPulse page are automatically reflected on my Twitter page, which then sends the same to my FaceBook status, blog (see right column) and personal website (see left column).

I will check my wall from time to time, to ensure that the various discussion threads are neatly tied up. I will also use the hash-tag, #minigeria (‘m’ from MDGs and ‘i’ from ICTs), to allow anyone follow the discussions through Roomatic. I will also monitor this blog, which has now been open for comments. I trust that between the various platforms, we’ll have an interesting conversation that will inform all participants and point us towards action-laden steps that can truly move us closer to the attainment of the MDGs in Nigeria by taking advantage of the many opportunities that ICTs provide. However, I think it’s safe to warn anyone with whom I have physical meetings tomorrow that I’ll be reserving only 50% of my attention for such moments, the other 50% will have to keep track of the online discussions (my much more comfortable zone). Let’s talk from 8am tomorrow…

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