FITC Promotes Technology and Innovation in Accelerating Growth in Africa


Friday, December 4, 2020 / 9:50 AM / Nifemi Taiyese / Header Image Credit: YouTube; Fitc Nigeria

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The Financial Institutions Training Center (FITC) recently organized its Youth Connect Technology Summit themed "Accelerating Growth and Development in Africa: The Role of Technology and Innovation", a two-segment event of a knowledge gathering session and an awards presentation ceremony. FITC under the platform of the Youth Connect Initiative has brought young Africans together.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, FITC, Mrs. Chizor Malize giving the keynote speech, highlighted the fact that FITC through the Youth Connect platform has the mandate to build a bridge for young people that will provide them with the knowledge, insights and understanding as well as serve as an avenue for them to engage, collaborate and express their highly innovative ideas. 

She revealed that the focus of the summit was on how technology can be leveraged to drive economic growth across the globe, to bring innovative development and eradicate hardship at measurable levels.

"Through technology and interconnectivity, government can ensure that infrastructure is connected to the individual needs and database which they can use for further planning" Malize said.

Sharing her thoughts on some of the opportunities and new areas that Africa can tap into, she said technology has helped to create and accelerate innovation opportunities in the following areas.

  1. Job creation through emergence of new industries and job roles.
  2. E-commerce for manufacturers and consumers.
  3. Expansion of digital healthcare & teletherapy.
  4. Technology and sustainable development, social and economic impact for communities.

Malize believed it was time for Nigeria to position itself for huge capital inflows for technology, as the nation emerged an attractive spot for global venture capitalists.

She encouraged Young Africans to take up the challenge of becoming co-creators in expanding opportunities in the region.

The MD/CEO of FITC Nigeria also charged young Africans all over the continent to take collective responsibility consistently and continuously for ventures and activities that will grow the region by being disruptors.

To stimulate growth, Malize was of the view that the nation must invest in science and technology as strong investments in tech is a catalyst for national growth and development. She called on government to step up its role in fostering foreign partnerships that can put Nigeria on the global technology map.

Barakat Adenike Sheriff the Chief of Staff, Future Africa in her presentation titled 'Technology Innovation in Africa, Challenges and Opportunities for Growth' provided insight into the ways in which technology is transforming economies and societies.

According to her technology is an enabler; makes processes faster, provides seamless operations and a better way of doing things.

She mentioned that her organization Future Africa refers to the problems of Africa as 'wicked problems'. "The type of problems that we face in Africa require deeper and more introspective solutions" She added. 

"The problems are Africa's biggest opportunities and can become billion-dollar businesses at scale, just like paystack that are solving Africa's problem at scale" Barakat Adenike added.

She said "Africa can only be saved by active solutions being created to solve challenges in the continent nd not by aid or development finance. To be a solution provider, it is crucial to first identify the problem then design solutions which will attract value".

Speaking on innovation, Barakat Adenike Sheriff called for the deepening of the market, that supports and values innovation.

The Future Africa Senior Official mentioned that capital, coaching, and community is needed to scale and deliver technological solutions to Africa.

The Co-Founder/CTO Kuda Microfinance Bank, Musty Mustapha, looking at amplifying Africa's digital economy, emphasized the ease of access to financial services and products, that can unlock potentials and enhance prosperity for the general populace.

"Foreign investment is helping accelerate Africa's tech transformation. In Africa, we have small technologies making the most impact in people's lives" Mustapha stated.

He observed that only about 20% of the people living in sub-Saharan Africa have internet subscriptions, while African women are now learning software development with free resources online as the continent produces more coders.  

From his perspective technology has helped to speed up the adoption of mainstream private e-learning across Africa.

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He advised the regulators to oversee the activities of cryptocurrency and create a regulatory framework to govern them in Africa and especially Nigeria.

On his part Greg Malize Technology Advisory Consultant said the combined GDP of Africa is less than one-third of the US GDP.

Speaking on the barriers to growth in Africa, Malize mentioned the following as key factors that could affect the growth of the continent

  • The ease of doing business
  • Infrastructural Deficiencies and
  • Low Technology Adoption

However, despite the barriers faced technology according to him is playing a role in transforming African Businesses. The rise of innovation hubs is another trend playing out across the African continent.

"Technology is playing a key role in enabling the transfer of arts, media and entertainment across African boundaries which has led to increased benefits such as increased access, connectivity to consumers and increased revenue" Malize said.

Addressing ways to achieve scale in technology that will solve the needs of the African populace, he called for more partnership between universities and training programs with focus on Afrocentric digital solutions.

Mr. Tayo K. Awosanya Managing Director Zercom Systems, giving an overview on the strategies for African youths to unleash creativity. He defined eLearning as utilizing electronic technologies to access educational curriculum outside of a traditional classroom.

He informed stakeholders that the size of the global corporate digital learning market is predicted to reach a revenue of $165billion.

He highlighted being a voice over artiste, content developer, LMS Administrator, Video Spokesperson, Language Translator, Subject Matter Expert and Curriculum developer as digital jobs young individuals should explore.

The event featured an award presentation ceremony to youths that participated in the Africa Youth Connect FITC 2020 essay competition. The 2nd runner up is Ololade Oshodi, a student at the University of Lagos, 1st runner up Abdul Pelumi Ganiyu, Student University of Ilorin, and Overall winner Oke Donatus Chibuzor.

It featured participants from Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya Nairobi, South Africa, East Africa, and West Africa.

FITC CEO Chizor Malize assured stakeholders of a roll out of more projects and programs for the rest of Africa that will develop individuals, professionals, businesses, government and create capacity within Africa.

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