The founder of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia, Monday stressed the need for digitisation of the Nigerian economy in other to stimulate growth.
Ovia made this call yesterday, during the unveiling of his new book, ‘Africa Rise and Shine – How a Nigerian Entrepreneur from Humble Beginnings Grew a Business to $16 Billion,’ in Lagos.
The event attracted bigwigs which included Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Governors of Lagos, Gombe, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Borno, Taraba, Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, several traditional and political leaders, chief executives, media entrepreneurs including the Editor-in-Chief and Chairman, THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, among others.
In his speech, Ovia said internet had completely changed the face of the world and highlighted the benefits of technology in the growth of nations.
He said, “The internet enables you to do online transactions, online sales, online education and everything. Amazon is now over $1 trillion. This Amazon doesn’t have a factory anywhere.
“They don’t have any oil well at all but has over $1 trillion in market capitalisation and richer than Nigeria and twice the GDP of Nigeria. It is because they embraced technology and the internet. Look at what Google has done.
“Google was just set up as a search engine, but now Google is one of the richest companies in the entire world. Of course, the market capitalisation of Google is larger than Nigeria’s GDP, and I mean larger than all the oil wells we have, all the resources we have and all the agriculture we have. Just one company!
“So, economies driven by technology will always blossom. So, for us to blossom the Nigerian economy, let’s start to digitise the economy. If we digitise the economy, it will continue to grow.
“If we use technology to drive our manufacturing process, our agriculture and healthcare, we will know what that will do for us,” he added.
He urged fledgling entrepreneurs to always go with their gut and to be determined in their chosen fields.
“You must use your God-given sense and go with your gut. We all have the feeling at certain points in our lives. We will want to do certain things, you are not too sure because you don’t have any data to prove it’s going to be right.
“But your instinct tells you do it, just do it. If you research what is going on in the global world and replicate it in your local world,” he said.
Commenting on the book, Ovia said there was need to change the narrative of Africa, which according to him, had been “so pathetic.”
He explained: “When you Google about Africa then, the first things that come out is that it is a continent of complex, a continent of corruption and of coups. And that was played out very dramatically when The Economist magazine had on their front page that Africa then was a continent of coup and a continent of corruption.
“But after two decades, that narrative started changing. Today, we now know that Africa is truly rising. Between then and now, what you have is GDP per capita of many African countries well above $1,000, whereas about 20 years ago, it was below $500.
“So, for me, Africa is rising. Twenty years ago, only few African countries have mobile phones, but today, all the African countries not only have mobile phones, they also have broadband technology and internet penetration is high. Africa is rising by embracing technology.”