In a bid to emphasis the importance of collaboration for the future of the technology ecosystem – and by extension financial technology – in Nigeria, eight companies whose businesses depend largely on technology, banded together for the maiden edition of TechFest 2018.
Led by Diamond Bank, the companies which include Visa, Microsoft, Deloitte, Interswitch, MTN Nigeria, Beat FM and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System PLC (NIBSS) organized what is arguably the largest technology gathering of 2018 in Nigeria, at the Landmark Event Centre.
According to some of the partners who spoke to reporters, Techfest became necessary given the increase in homegrown innovations from the players in the country and the disparate way they operate.
Yemi Saka, partner at Deloitte responsible for Consulting Business across West Africa, told BusinessDay that “Often you do not get an event where a lot of these smart vibrant young people and the right organizations come together to provide an outlet where we can showcase innovation.”
For the tech ecosystem to make an impact and realize the potential that it is known for, collaboration among the players no matter their size is seen critical.
Techfest which had the theme ‘Spark Your Curiosity’, saw an impressive 8,000 online registered participants for a first-time tech event in Nigeria, and over half of that number showed up on the first day.
Uzoma Dozie, CEO of Diamond Bank said the vision of Techfest is to drive technology education to people who are yet to embrace it for lack of understanding of how innovations work. He disclosed that the bank commits significant amount of financial and human resources to spread the knowledge of their digital products to their over 3 million online customers.
“We have about 3 or 4 million people that have opened a bank account on a mobile phone. You have to be educated to do that. Part of opening new products is educating people. The illiterate of the future is not the one that cannot write English or Mathematics, it is one that cannot unlearn what they have learned and relearn. To get on in this new life, what brought you to where you are today is not what is going to take you to where you are going. I have done banking for 20 years but I have done it in a different way. The new way of banking is going to be different. It is going to be done by artificial intelligence and machine learning and so you must be ready to unlearn what you learnt,” he said.
A representative of MTN Nigeria at the event said the company did not hesitate to partner with the other companies knowing the impact of technology on its network of over 63 million subscribers and a vast coverage across Africa.
“The whole point of #Techfest2018 is to show people that you can do much more with what is available. We want a world where technology reaches the bottom of the value chain,” Dozie told the audience during his opening remarks.
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