Dr Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), First Bank Group, has urged government, relevant financial authorities and businesses to leverage technology and innovation for better financial inclusion and an improved Nigerian economy.
Adeduntan gave the advice on Wednesday at the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) webinar, themed: “Technology and Innovation: Creating Boundless Opportunities”.
Adeduntan revealed that the Bank, through its several platforms that leverage innovative technologies to facilitate trade and e-commerce, currently has over 16 million active customers on its digital platforms.
He added that the bank had also recorded five times growth in transaction volumes and six times growth on transaction values on digital channels over the past three years.
The First Bank CEO stressed the need for the factors limiting technology and innovation growth in Nigeria, saying this should be addressed to fully harness the boundless opportunities provided by technology to the economy.
He stated that businesses must embed technology and innovation in their DNAs, deploying a technology first approach across internal and external core operational and ancillary systems.
He noted that the technological transformation process must include investments in new technologies, and leveraging on technology to system, cyber risk and fraud resiliency.
“Technology and innovation continue to provide solutions to some of the major challenges of financial inclusion across several economies.
“The world economy has been shaped by various waves of global integration, driven by underlying changes in transport and communication technology leading to reduced trade cost.
“The fourth industrial revolution promises to reshape and reimagine the world economy in newer and more fundamental ways.
“We therefore must embed innovation as part of the culture within the organization that births innovative ideas and new ways of improving operations, increasing product and customer reach
” We must also support technological investments and transformation with the right people strategy training and up-skilling employees,” he said.
Adeduntan urged government to build critical supporting infrastructure across the country that would enhance the growth and development of technology and increase funding to businesses that intend to deploy technology.
He also called for the establishment of tech hubs in different regions across the country where people can be trained and groomed with technical skills.
“We must also formulate policies that encourage businesses adopt technology process and return to the era when private and public sector funded research processes” he said.
In his remarks, Mr Kayode Falowo, President, NBCC, noted that one of the hallmarks of the COVID-19 pandemic is the increasing influence of technology in the way companies in all sectors and regions do business.
According to him, emerging technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, block chain technology, augmented reality, 3D printing and others offer new opportunities for businesses.
“Technology has also changed the way we approach business; has led to increased productivity with the potential to reshape the role of humans in the function of production and with jobs.
“It has also helped businesses boost the efficiency of operations as executives can manage costs, improve business culture and enlarge research capacity.
“At the NBCC, we believe that there is need for a new construct and mental model for technology.
“To stay competitive in this new business and economic environment requires new strategies and practices and those who cannot participate in digital transformation will be left behind.