Adesola Adeduntan

Emma Okonji

The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan has urged Nigeria to digitise her businesses in line with global trends, saying a country’s ability to digitise its businesses and markets is becoming increasingly vital to find a place within the global economy.

Adeduntan, who spoke at the FirstBank Tech Startup Forum in Lagos recently, said technology has suddenly transformed the way that we interact, we navigate and we conduct business, insisting there is urgent need for businesses in Nigeria to be digitised in order to have global acceptance.

According to him, the realities of integrated development on the one hand and the prevailing national and global economic circumstances on the other, compel a reassessment of business to business collaboration models universally, and technology and the financial services space are not exempted.

“We need to redesign our engagement perspectives to take advantage of these fast-paced changes. The forum, which seeks to address the need for the increase in synergy between tech businesses and financial services providers, is therefore apt,” he said.

He said the United States and India, for example, have turned their tech hubs to enormous economic centres, noting that Nigeria could strategically extract value from our Tech communities to optimise human capacity building, corporate development and foreign exchange potentials, and generally boost the economy.

There are concerns, however, around the dwindling purchasing power of the Nigerian consumer but the successes of several well-structured technology and non-tech startups like Konga, Jumia, Yudala Jobberman, Irokotv, Paga among others, illustrate the potential of the Nigerian economy,” he said.
According to him, it is no news that in the last few years we have been experiencing disruption.

“I believe that the great drawcard of this digital disruption is the opportunity it brings. New digital strategies continue to challenge traditional business models, disrupting financial services and markets and changing how they interact with investors and consumers, across a range of platforms and devices,” he added.

Also speaking at the forum, the Chairman, First Bank, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, said technology has paved the way for improved businesses in this digital age, by helping to drive business growth through the development of customer-focused and attractive value propositions.

“It has aided the provision of speed in the delivery of goods and services, and also allows information, whether written or broadcast, to be shared more quickly,” she said.

Awosika noted that with fewer resources, marketing can be accomplished by placing ads that reach millions of ready buyers on the internet or through social networking sites, e-learning and other forms of online training that have reshaped the readiness of the average small business workforce as employees can listen to classroom lectures and share ideas with classmates from the comfort of their home or office.

She said FirstBank remained an ardent supporter of the new inventive energy spreading across Nigeria, and that it was no surprise that at over 120 years old, the bank still offer valuable financial services to its customers.
“We see the need to offer support and encourage technology innovation,” she said.

According to her, the rising technology startups in Nigeria have begun to reflect in the economy of the nation. Most of them have contributed to solving the ailing problems faced by the nation. They are the future of technology disruptions in Africa, and there was need to support them.
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