Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Youth Empowerment Forum for Digital Revolution

A forum for youths was organised in Lagos two weeks ago by Zenith Bank. The forum took place on the last day of CTO 2006, an annual event organised by the US Commercial Service Lagos. The event has become one of the most prominent computer fairs since its inception. I was able to attend the computer fair on one of the days. MUSON's Shell Hall was filled with stands for various vendors and service providers. It was quite impressive. You could also check your email at the My Netcom stand, after listening to their sales pitch no doubt.

The Youth Empowerment Forum for Digital Revolution was open for youths aged 13 to 25 and was Zenith's contribution to bridging the digital divide by exposing youths early on to ICTs (information & communication technology). Jim Ovia, the CEO of Zenith Bank, encouraged the youths present to become more familiar with technology and to learn how ICTs can be used to help grow businesses. Basically, "knowing technology can yield financial benefits", which is a smart way to motivate young people living in a developing country.

Read more about the youth forum.

Then, I read about a group of student entrepreneurs from the University of Lagos called iVEN (Innovative Entrepreneurs Network), who were the official CTO bloggers providing hourly coverage of each day's activities. They were apparently the toast of the media and all present. I haven't yet seen their blog for the CTO, but I was able to check out their own blog Unilag Faces.


Pilgrimage to Self said...

It's heartwarming to know that at last Nigerian Youth are beginning to explore the entrepreneurial world instead of pursuing the so called 'solid' professions i.e becoming a doctor, lawyer, engineer. The world is changing. I wish I had pursued my dream earlier, but I'm still glad that at 36 I have woken up and am smelling the roses.

Ore said...

Well, you know Nigeria. Whatever makes money....

nigeria, what's new said...

ICT success is not about "yield financial benefits" as commented by Jim Ovia. It is not only our government that is crazy, a lot of its cronies are also mad if their mantra is simply encouraging the youths "to become more familiar with technology and to learn how ICTs can be used to help grow businesses" in a developing country. The whole planet is living through the greatest intellectual moment in history and Zenith Bank of Nigeria's CEO encourages 419. This is sad.

At the ultimate stage, competition among nations will be competition among educational systems, for the most productive and richest countries will be those with the best education and training. The "money money money" thinking in Nigeria must change, here is a good example “I never, ever thought of myself as a businessman. I was interested in creating things I would be proud of.” —Richard Branson.

Ore said...

I don't believe that Jim Ovia was encouraging 419 at all. From the articles I read about the forum, he was simply pointing out that using ICTs within organisations can help make them more efficient in the services they deliver and goods they manufacture.

The "ICT knowledge yields financial benefits" angle was merely a selling point. While I agree with you that money should not be the sole driving force in planning for the future, the reality is that you have to identify the best way to get your message across to your intended audience, which I believe is what Jim Ovia was doing.