First Bank says it as recorded a milestone 100 million electronic banking transaction in a month underscoring growing adoption of cashless banking services in Nigeria.
Mr Adesola Adeduntan, Group Managing Director of First Bank Nigeria Limited disclosed this in a keynote address at the First Bank Technology Entrepreneur Conference held recently in Lagos.
“In December 2015, First Bank achieved a landmark of 100 million electronic banking transactions in a single month” Adeduntan told the tech forum that attracted players from diverse segments of the technology ecosystem in Nigeria.
According to the First bank GMD, the ICT sector in Nigeria has shown many hopes for young enterprenuers who wants to seize the opportunity of the large market share of the ever-increasing Internet community in the country.
“We cannot optimise the potentials of today’s economy except we design our engagement perspectives to take advantage of fast pace changes. The focus of this forum mainly to address the need for increase synergy between technology discourses and financial services providers is therefore necessary”, told tech ecosystem attendees at the event designed by the bank to connect with the tech community.
Adeduntan sees Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital as Africa’s Silicon Valley, which is home to more startups than any other place and believes that with a national population of about 180 million people; the largest mobile market in Africa with over 146 million active mobile lines; over 93 million Internet users; Nigeria should be able to turn around its economy with technology.
“How do we maximize our numbers? The same way the US and India, for example, have turned their technology hubs to economic advantage. We as a country can strategically extract value from our technology formatives to optimise human capacity building, corporate development, forex potential and generally boost our economy”, the First Bank GMD says.
Speaking further, he says that “there is sense about the purchasing power of the huge population, but the services of several non-structured startups illustrates the potential for getting it right from doing it right.”
He however decried challenges facing the education sector in the country which he says is derailing the support needed in the aspiration of a digital society.
“Obviously, except for a few highlights, the quality of education is not at the level of supporting the aspiration of a digital society. We might begin to return to our education with a competitive mindset because we operate in a global environment”, according to the bank chief.
“As we contemplate on how to reform educationally in the digital era, we must avoid the temptation to celebrate to beat our past, we should rather benchmark against the best of the best,” he advised.
The First Bank GMD also advocated for a well-planned co-operation between academic institutions and the technology community for proper maximization of research and development.
“While there are pockets of technology startups that have emerged from our higher institutions by sheer doggedness of the individuals, I believe there should be structured collaboration between academic institutions and the technology community to maximize the inherent benefit of research and development. Interestingly, financial institutions have an interest and they want to play in this module.”
Adeduntan also called for institution of policies that will enable the formation of creativity and innovation hubs away from the city to rural areas. He also wants government to create measures that will deter cyber crimes of all ramifications and boost the cyber confidence in the use of technology products and services.
Also speaking at the event, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, the Chairman Board of Directors of First Bank encouraged the technology players to develop more solutions that will solve major problems facing the society.
“The technology industry is the one that has the potential of creating numerous jobs. I want to challenge you to make technology solutions relevant to our social challenges or to find a solution that immediately finds acceptance or available market waiting for it,” she adds.
“The way I see the approach is how we think by using technology to solve social problems or economic problems or health issues or educational issues that affects the lives of the people. Using technology to make services deliver faster, more efficiently, and more cost effectively.”
Mrs. Awosika called for synergy and better understanding between the technology community and financial institutions for the overall growth of the economy.
“When we work together and we have a clear understanding of how we can do this, then we find a solution that makes it possible for us to involve in the development of the tech space thereby impacting our economy positively ”, the First Bank adds.