Support for young entrepreneurs in Nigeria’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem was at the heart of discussions at the 8th NCS Lagos IT Conference & Awards held recently in Lagos.
Speaking at the Conference, Chairman, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Charles Onyeukwu noted that young entrepreneurs trying to transform the society through creativity, innovativeness and job creation, need to be encouraged. According to him, there are opportunities inherent in the Nigerian ecosystem that could position the country to global competitiveness if well-harnessed. He said the best way to harness these Information Technology (IT) opportunities is to support young Nigerians who are already building Applications and innovating ideas that would be profitable to the country.
Also speaking in same vein, Chairman of the occasion and chief executive officer of MIS Software Limited, Etim James Amana pointed out: “There is a need to groom the youths in ICT and encourage them to be entrepreneurial for the future.”
In his speech, the Governor of Lagos State, AkinwunmiAmbode commended the NCS for promoting computer literacy, encouraging the deployment of IT in governance and use of ICT Applications.
The governor, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, OlukayodeOgunobi also noted that the state government has been promoting the use of ICT in governance, having realized the big role ICT plays in facilitating growth in every economy.
“Lagos State government has promoted ICT in the State by setting up state of the art infrastructure such as the eLibrary, Digital Village and other initiatives that have eased governance in the state.”
He enumerated the gains of ICT in the state and pledged to continually partner with NCS to promote and expand the frontier of knowledge and improve access to internet.
In his presentation titled “National Development: The Role of IT”, the Executive Director, Business Development, Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement Scheme (NIBSS), Ezekiel NiyiAjao disclosed that NIBSS is currently working with Technology Hubs to encourage young Nigerians to come up with ideas that can leverage of Digital Financial Services (DFS) to ease financial transaction in the country.
He noted that with about 90 million bankable adults and only 30 million having the Bank Verification Number (BVN), implies that about 60 million Nigerians are still unbanked. “The idea is to enable the average Nigerian access to financial services.”
He also enthused that with the share population and mobile telecom subscription figure, Nigeria through innovativeness could reach the unbanked population.
Ajao however lamented that insecurity, illiteracy and some other factors have been challenges facing DFS in the country.
DFS, he pointed out, has its objectives as to facilitate loans and finances; encourage a saving culture among Nigerians; make payments seamlessly and further encourage investments.
The event also witnessed the presentation of the NCS Lagos Golden Names Awards to select individuals that have contributed to the growth of the NCS; the Don Etiebet Innovation Prize and the Sidmach Prize to young entrepreneurs and students that have done exceptional works in the use of ICT for growth.