Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia, has pledged the bank’s support for youths working on technological innovations and products that would assist digitalise the Nigerian economy.
Ovia stated this at the bank’s Tech Fair in Lagos at the weekend with the theme Future forward.
Ovia said the technology has become important as the world had gone digital and the Nigerian economy was being digitised.
Ovia said so many Nigerian youths are creating new innovations such as startups companies and start-up initiatives, adding that Zenith Bank thought it needed to support start-ups and encourage them by sponsoring the innovative ideas that they have.
“We want to support Nigerians 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,” said Ovia.
“We beleive in the years to come that we will build our own Silicon Valley as we sponsor more innovations and creativities, whether in the area of entertainment, technology, agriculture, among others. That is why we will encourage our youths to come up with various technologies and innovations that they have that is disruptive and will change the old ways of doing things to embrace new ways, which is the direction of the world economy. These include artificial intelligence and various forms of innovations,” he added.
He also said Nigeria was endowed with well trained Nigerian engineers, IT and practitioners and there was the need to encourage them.
Managing Director/CEO of the bank, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, lauded participants at the fair, saying majority of stakeholders in the digital ecosystem was represented.
“I am impressed with the quality of presentation. We had presentations from Google, IBM oracle and several others. Every one of them talked about the huge potential 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.
“We need to be aware of the direction of travels so if everyone is taking about 5G and moving ahead, what you see in the digital space is that, if you fail to adapt to the latest technology, you will soon become irrelevant. So it is important that we understand it. It is important for us to talk about it and what we should now do is fire our inspiration to see that we move in the same direction,” he said.
Google’s Country Manager in Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan, said she felt great being at the fair, noting that technology plays a vital role in transforming the way people live, work, do business and interact with one another.
“We are seeing cassava farmers 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,” Ehimuan added.