Transforming Africa-made solutions to meet its developmental aspirations has become imperative if the continent hopes to actualize its economic potential, experts have said.
Rising from the second Stanbic IBTC Business Leadership Series, participants expressed their support to build a new cadre of business and entrepreneurship leadership to trigger the continent’s renaissance. The event, which had the theme Digitalization and Business Sustainability in the new World, held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Thursday October 8, 2015,
In her welcome address, Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, Sola David-Borha, said a major objective of the event was to help individuals and businesses gain insight on how they can leverage digitalization and technology to develop their businesses and the Nigerian economy. She described digitalization as the way of the future, while the development of a vast entrepreneurship class will be crucial in lifting Africa out of poverty.
“The benefits of digitalization are obviously huge for any business or economy. In looking at today’s global economic landscape, businesses of every size need to overhaul their processes and applications if they hope to compete and succeed“, David-Borha stated.
Internally acclaimed rocket scientist, motivational speaker and innovator, Siyabulela Xusa, who expressed delight to be visiting Nigeria for the first time, said that with science and technology being the bedrock of any nation’s productive capacity, Africa must focus on developing local capacity, part of which includes to ‘be ruthlessly curious.’
Xusa, who won global acclaim for developing a cheaper and safer rocket fuel, said Africa, needs ‘a revolution in innovations’ in order to put the continent on the path of growth and greatness. According to Xusa, Nigeria, as Africa’s biggest economy, must lead the quest and others will follow. “Instead of buying technology and innovation, we should develop the African capacity to create innovations“, Xusa said, adding that “mediocrity is the enemy of innovation“.
“Africa’s huge and young population, the abundance of talents and natural resources, vast consumer market and cheap labour are opportunities that can propel strong growth, if well harnessed“, he said.
Chief Executive Officer and founder of Interswitch Limited, Mitchel Elegbe, used the story of Interswitch, which he has nurtured into a leading pan-African integrated payment giant, to illustrate the transformational power of digital technology. He reiterated that there are huge opportunities for African companies in the digital and innovation space, and only requires the ability to recognize such opportunities for growth and development.
The event drew attendance from both the public and private sectors, including experts, investors, regulators, captains of industry and the business community.
Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Yinka Sanni, in thanking the speakers and participants, reiterated that as an African institution, the Standard Bank Group, to which Stanbic IBTC belongs, will continue to unravel opportunities in Nigeria and Africa by facilitating exchange of ideas and information to help highlight investment opportunities. The Stanbic IBTC Business Leadership Series, he said, fits into the Standard Bank Group’s strategic goal of leveraging its international expertise and global reach to advance the development of emerging markets globally, with special focus on Africa.
The Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest banking group by assets and market capitalization, has been in operation for 153 years and has direct, on-the-ground representation in 20 African countries. Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc is a full service financial services group with a clear focus on three main business pillars – Corporate and Investment Banking, Personal and Business Banking and Wealth Management.