Zenith Bank Tech Fair:How Nigeria can win the Battle on Digitalisation-Ovia,Onyeagwu

The Zenith Bank Tech Fair which held recently was a successful one which was according to expectation as The Chairman of the bank,Mr. Jim Ovia is someone known in the industry to be very knowledgeable in the areas of Information technology and some one said to have worked as an ICT person in the United States of America before his return to Nigeria to begin his banking career. 

The   Tech Fair held at hallmark Event Centre V.I.,Lagos and was organised by the bank to enable technology firms and innovators to take the opportunity offered by the Christmas season to make brisk business in their overall interest and that of their customers.Hence it was a beehive of activity that saw the big names as well the small brands robbing shoulders in order to achieve their goals of getting more customers.

There were presentations from the likes of Google, IBM, oracle and many others even while sales were carried on at their shops at hallmark.As should be expected must of the presentations were centred on the fourth industrial revolution and the readiness Africa and the rest of the world for the unfolding revolution.Most of it pointed out the need for countries like Nigeria to up its capacity in the areas of internet of things,Artificial intelligence ,block-chain technology, cloud computing,Fin-tech. etc.For the presenters,the country has a lot of brilliant youths who are gifted in ICT skills that can help Nigeria triumph as a nation in ICT.

However,they felt that the issues of lack of opportunity,encouragement and finance may be a hindrance. After all we have seen that much of our Fin-tech people are actually supported from abroad.For instance the Fin-tech. company ,PAYSTACK,sometimes ago raised over $8M from USA.Yet our Nigerian banks claim to support Small and medium companies.

Nevertheless,Chairman of Zenith Bank during his address  restated the bank’s readiness to continue  to support technology start-ups in the country,saying  as the world has gone digital  we have to follow suit to ensure our survival as a nation.Mr Ovia stressed this point ,maintaining that youth tech entrepreneurs should be supported for us to be able to create globally competitive companies in the world of today.

In his remarks, Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer, Zenith Bank, Ebenezer Onyeagwu,  expressed joy over the turn out of people at the fair,saying  that virtually every stakeholder in the digital ecosystem was represented at the  fair with the  theme, “Future Forward”. The event showcased up-coming as well as leading technology companies and innovations across all  aspect of life.The bank also showcased  various technology start-ups and innovative ideas it sponsored.

The  Google’s Country Manager, Juliet Ehimuan, in her speech emphasized  on the issue  of the importance of technology in the world of today and tomorrow .Her drive being that the onus is upon us to improve our knowledge and technology -capacity because it is transforming the way people  live, work, do business and interact with one another.That is to say it has to do with all there is to life on earth.

Speaking further,Mr Ovia, said that although the bank has done a lot in the past to promote technology but that this year’s fair is going to a next-level given the fact that the world and the Nigerian nation are on the throes of the fourth industrial revolution which focuses on digitalisation .

He promised that the bank would be investing on  youth tech innovators,maintaining  that at this time so many Nigerian youths were creating new innovations and building  start-up companies and  initiatives.Hence his position that  Zenith Bank would be  adding value by  encouraging them via sponsorship of  their innovative ideas .

According to him“We want to support them in the area of disruptive innovations and technologies and we all know what disruptive innovations will do to our economy. This is exactly why we are sponsoring this Zenith Tech Fair.”He revealed that going ahead that the bank would be aiming to build a sort of technology village like the silicon Valley in the US were those in Nigeria ICT could have a true home for innovation and revolutionary inventions.That is to say an environment that would be supportive of creativity and innovation.

The GMD/CEO of Zenith Bank says “I am very impressed with the quality of presentation. We had presentations from Google, IBM, oracle and several others and every one of them talked about the huge potentials in Nigeria and the opportunity for growth expansion that awaits us, so I believe what we need to do is take it to an elevated level to see what happens”.

But as  Ehimuan sees it “We are seeing cassava farmers in part of Africa using machine learning to detect diseases. This is made available to them through an interface which is the mobile phone, which is a device that almost everyone has access to.We are seeing advancements in cloud technology, security systems and Internet of Things. Beyond connectivity among people and connectivity among devices, there are over 17billion connected devices on the planet today,” she said.

Apart from the normal gains peoples and businesses make from fairs,we believe that it must have been very comforting for many tech people who graced the event when they hear-ed promises from the biggest bank in Nigeria to back and support them.And this coming from a bank who yearly organise a fair for them to display their innovations,wares,ideas and what have you.It rings more true. Or what do you think?