Nigerian Youths Need Empowerment for Digital Transformation, Says Ovia

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Jim Ovia

Emma Okonji

The Chairman and Founder of Zenith Bank, Mr. Jim Ovia, has stressed the need for youth empowerment with emerging technology tools in order to adequately prepare them for the next digital transformation in today’s fourth industrial revolution era.

Ovia who gave the advice at the Zenith Bank Tech Fair, which held at the Landmark Event Centre in Lagos Wednesday, said to achieve digital youth empowerment, the federal government, in collaboration with the private sector, must implement and scale effective youth workforce programmes that would create the requisite skills development for proper placement in sustainable formal sector jobs.

According to him, if the right digital empowerment is not given to youths, they could be disenfranchised, which could lead to crises that would likely threaten the future of youths and the Nigerian economy.

He said Nigeria has 44.23 million youth labour force, with an average of 390,000 youth school graduates annually, yet 13.15 million of the total youth population remained unemployed, amounting to 29.70 per cent of youth unemployment as at the third quarter of 2018.

He therefore called for proper education that offers employable skills with relevant and up-to-date curriculum, tailored to the needs of the future workforce. Ovia equally stressed the need for training and apprenticeship that will deliver the right skills and create internship opportunities.

Ovia said the era of the fourth industrial revolution is all about disruptive and innovative technology, which he said Nigerian youths must key into, given its potential and applications.

While listing some of the market values for the various disruptive innovations, Ovia said the projected values are huge.

According to him, the projected revenue value for 3D printing would reach $34.8 billion by 2024; Artificial Intelligence (AI) would reach $118.6 billion by 2025; Drones revenue would reach $43.1 billion by 2024; Augmented Recently would reach $85 billion by 2025; Robotics, both personal and domestic tasks robots would exceed 22.1 million units valued at $4.6 billion by the end of 2019. Others according to him, include Quantum Computing, which is valued at $780 million by 2025; Blockchain technology to exceed $10 billion by 2023; and Internet of Things (IoTs) to reach $74.74 billion by 2023, while FinTech revenue is projected to reach $638 billion by 2024.

Country Manager at Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, who delivered a keynote at the Zenith Bank Tech Fair, spoke on ‘Machine Learning and QuantumComputing: The Next Frontier’.

She explained that Quantum Computing would change the way we live and think, because of its faster time in completing tasks. She called on Nigerian youths to leverage emerging technologies to enhance their skills in today’s digital transformation in the fourth industrial revolution. “Application of emerging technologies could be leveraged upon to develop great skills and ideas. Africa’s biggest challenges could be addressed with emerging technologies,” Ehimuan-Chiazor said.

Managing Director, Huawei Technologies Nigeria, Mr. Eric Zhang who was represented by the Director, Wireless Technology at Huawei, Mr. Anthony Ethem, spoke on the importance of the fifth generation technology (5G) and called on Nigerian youths to leverage on the speed of connectivity and low latency that come with 5G technology. According to Zhang, 5G comes with three major values, which he listed as massive connectivity, enhanced mobile broadband capabilities and ultra-low latency communication.

Country Manager, Oracle Nigeria, Mr. Adebayo Sanni, spoke about big data and stressed the need for Nigerians to make effective use of data collection and analysis for critical decision making. “Data is the core DNA for organisations like Oracle and I encourage other organisations to identity with data around them and to make effective use of such data,” Sanni said.