Zenith bank, leading multinational financial service provider in Nigeria has supported and sponsored various technology start-ups and innovative ideas at its recent Tech fair.
Zenith Tech Fair, which was held at the Land Mark Event Centre, Victoria Island Lagos was themed ‘Future forward’, which showcased leading technology innovation across every aspect of life.
Speaking at the event, Jim Ovia, Chairman, Zenith Bank Plc, said Zenith bank have always had some form of technology summit over the years, but the tech fair is a little bit different from the prior years because, at this point in time, the world has gone so digital and Nigerian economy is being digitised.
Ovia explained that this event is holding a time when so many Nigerian youths are creating new innovations such as start-up companies and start-up initiatives, adding that Zenith bank thought it needed to support start-ups and encourage them by sponsoring the various innovative ideas that they have.
“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.
“We believe 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, amongst 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 said.
He stressed that Nigeria has well trained Nigerian engineers, IT and practitioners and there is a need to encourage them.
Ebenezer Onyeagwu, MD/CEO, Zenith Bank, who was pleased with the turnout of people in attendance, acknowledged that virtually every stakeholder in the digital ecosystem was represented at the event.
“I am very impressed with the quality of the 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.
“Remember also that at the back of this building, we have a hacker ton. The essence of this hackathon is to help us identify those who have potentials for inauguration and creativity in terms of coming up with new designs. For those who will be eventual winners, of course, the bank is going to be providing support to incubate them and see how we can get them to grow even bigger and better than what they are now,” he explained.
Speaking on whether the Tech fair was mature for discussions around 5G technologies, Onyeagwu said it was mature, stressing that Nigeria needs to be aware of what is happening.
“We need to be aware of the direction of travels so if everyone is talking 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 we should now do is fire our inspiration to see that we move in the same direction,” he said.
Juliet Ehimuan, Google’s Country Manager in Nigeria who said she felt great being at Zenith bank’s tech fair stressed that technology has played a very important role and continues to play that role in transforming the way we live, work, do business and interact with one another.
She noted that year on year; there are lots of sophistication in the technology space like artificial intelligence and machine learning being used in part of Africa and Nigeria and across multiple sectors, including agriculture.
“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,” Ehimuan added.