MainOne CEO  | IT’s time to disrupt Nigerian economy

MainOne CEO | IT’s time to disrupt Nigerian economy

MainOne CEO | IT’s time to disrupt Nigerian economy

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Funke Opeke, CEO of MainOne, has asked players in the Nigerian economy to leverage technological disruption to survive the nation’s economic recession.

Opeke says that players in the tech space are “trying to disrupt the way things are being traditionally done for the improvement and development of our society and Nigeria at large.”

She made the call in her welcome address to participants at Nerds Unite 2017 held recently in Lagos. Nerds Unite, an annual event organised by MainOne brings together world-class leaders from global, IT firms sharing knowledge in new trends and other disruptive technologies facing today’s tech landscape. She explains that as the reason why the theme for this year’s edition of Nerds Unite is focusing on disrupting the global technology space.

“Given where we are in Nigeria today and for those who have come to join us from outside Nigeria now that the country is in an economic recession, one can understand about the need to create something new, more efficient and worthwhile so clearly, in Nigeria, we need disruptors”, the MainOne CEO told attendees at the event.

“We need disruptors because oil has been our primary source of wealth for the past 50 years and we became overly dependent on the oil that was being pumped out of the ground to create value for ourselves. We became a sharing and consuming economy as opposed to focusing on being a productive economy”, she adds.

She further explained the effect of the country’s over-dependence on foreign goods and services that cause many Nigerians to directly or indirectly grow the economy of foreign countries. “For education, we could go offshore. We have the dollars so we can spend it offshore. For healthcare, we can do the same thing.

“For industrialisation, we can do that, we can import most of what we needed and we have the dollars to buy from China. Even in agriculture where we have been feeding ourselves, now, we import rice, which is the number one staple food in Nigeria, so we can see the cycle in terms of economy and where we are and how we got ourselves into this”, she said.

“For industrialisation, we can do that, we can import most of what we needed and we have the dollars to buy from China. Even in agriculture where we have been feeding ourselves, now, we import rice, which is the number one staple food in Nigeria, so we can see the cycle in terms of economy and where we are and how we got ourselves into this”, she said.

Funke Opeke, CEO Mainone Cable

She further stressed the need for Nigeria to build and strengthen her manufacturing capacity using technology when she says that, “we have failed to use the past 50 years to develop our economy because we had the oil revenues and clearly the absence of functional electricity or any kind of manufacturing or effective transportation systems in reflection of that.

According to her, advances in technology have “moved on in the past 30 years where technology has really been building globalisation and the information age and actually making maybe agriculture or manufacturing all around the world a lot more efficient.

“That is what we are about in trying to bridge the gap and disrupt where we are as a society from the slow progression but actually tapping into the most advanced and current technology to disrupt our world and drive economic value.

“In Nigeria today, agriculture seems to be the most viable promoting sector. When we walk across the world, 5% of the population in Europe is involved in agriculture and they feed themselves and generate the surplus.

“In the United States where you actually have more modernisation and smart agriculture, 2% of the population is involved in agriculture and the surplus that they generate can feed all the hungry people in the world including many of them in Africa”, the MainOne CEO told the Nerds Unite 2017 attendees in Lagos.

If Nigeria is going to diversify her economy, first, “we have to get electricity working because we can’t have the technologies we are talking about without having electricity working. But if we are going to diversify our economy and truly reduce the dependence that we have on oil, there is no alternative than to adopt and leverage technology to disrupt how we do things.”

“When we look in transportation where Uber is starting to have a significant impact in transportation in our cities, in Lagos, in Abuja and when we look at content and how it is being delivered today, be it through Iroko TV or any of the other platforms. Then, certainly, we realise what the potential is for disruption and transformation of the economy.”

 

Funke Opeke, CEO of MainOne
Funke Opeke, CEO of MainOne

Citing examples with local tech companies, she noted that Nigerians have what it takes to place themselves in the global tech space, “For those of you who still think disruption does not work in Nigeria, I want to take the case of electronic banking and what Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) which is one of our customers is doing with instant payment.

“Instant payment had the largest volume money-wise in terms of transactions in Nigeria last year. N38.2trillion was moved electronically through the NIBSS instant payment platform in 153.6million transactions.

“Now, in 2012, nearly N200million was moved on that platform. So in the space of four years, we can see the rapid transformation that has taken place in terms of how money is moved through that switch in the Nigerian economy online, real-time, interbank credit transfers.

“When we look at this examples and we look at the speed of the rate of transformation, we actually know that our society, our private institutions, our citizens, our workforce have the capacity to bring about the transformations that technology enables.

“When we think of businesses such as e-Tranzact, which is also facilitating part of that payment ecosystem targeted at the work we are doing. When we look in the retail space, we see companies like Konga. I believe Dealday is also here today, OLX.

When we look in transportation where Uber is starting to have a significant impact in transportation in our cities, in Lagos, in Abuja and when we look at content and how it is being delivered today, be it through Iroko TV or any of the other platforms. Then, certainly, we realise what the potential is for disruption and transformation of the economy.”

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Elizabeth Edozie Technology Journalist @Technology Times 08077671659 elizabeth.edozie@technologytimes.ng

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