Tech enthusiasts, yesterday, attended a tech conference organised by Softcom, an indigenous technology company who serve as technical partners to the Federal Government on the N-Power project. The conference was held at Softcom’s headquarters in Ikeja GRA, Lagos.
The event started with a welcome address by the Chief Executive Officer of Softcom, Mr Yomi Adedeji.
Adedeji’s speech was followed by exciting discussions on how to advance technological solutions to fix Nigeria and Africa’s socio-economic development challenges while also creating high quality employment opportunities.
The conference featured keynote speeches from notable stakeholders and VIP guests such as Mr. Afolabi Imoukhuede, (SSA) to the President on job creation; Mr Kayode Pitan, MD, BOI; Mrs. Toyin Adeniji, Executive Director Micro Enterprises, BOI; Mr Ernest Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning; Mr. Premier Oiwoh, MD and CEO of Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS); Dr. Olatunde Adekola, Senior Education Specialist, World Bank Group; Mr Tobias Wolfgarten of German GIZ Operations; and Mrs Hilda Kragha, CEO, Jobberman.
In his keynote address, Mr. Afolabi Imoukhuede, SSA to the Government on Job Creation, focused on six pillars that facilitate social inclusion and national development: social comprising identity, digital literacy, education, agriculture, financial services and health.
He added that strong government participation in policy making, resource allocation and ecosystem development is required to fast track development in these areas.
Imoukhuede applauded Softcom and other partners on their technical expertise in implementing the N-Power project. With the aid of technology, the programme, he said, has been able to enroll over 500,000 beneficiaries across the 774 local governments in Nigeria. One of the beneficiaries gifted him one of his rice products.
Contributing to the keynote on combating poverty, Softcom CEO, Adedeji said:
We designed a platform that guaranteed transparent recruitment, and beneficiary verification, which ensured that no ghost worker existed in the N-Power programme. In addition, the platform enabled effective and seamless multi-stakeholder collaboration.
In his concluding remarks, Adedeji said, “In order to lift whole communities out of poverty and ensure inclusive growth, our development must be led by data and planning, not just ideas. The Nigerian government should take advantage of technology.”
Next was a presentation by Ms Isioma Eluemunor, the event manager of Softcom. She shared footage on the impact of N-Power. A beneficiary revealed in the footage that the programme helped him grow from 1 acre to six acres of rice farmland. Beneficiaries also shared how the programme provided them with tablets they use to create academic products to teach kids.
Still on combating poverty, Toyin Adeniji, the Executive Director Micro Enterprise BOI, talked about SMEs. She stressed on the need to bring the estimated 38 million MSMEs operational in Nigeria into one ecosystem using technology to harness their growth.
Mr Pitan Olukayode, Managing Director of BOI, buttressed the need to start doing things differently by using technology to combat poverty.
The conference also featured panel discussions, debates, and a question and answer (Q&A) session that involved the VIP guests and members of the media present.
A key issue raised on the panel was begging online and how indicative it has become of the poverty rate in Nigeria.
Jobberman CEO, Hilda Kragha, noted that there should be career centers in all educational institutions especially at the tertiary level, as well as vocational centres across the LGAs to improve Nigeria’s informal sector.
This session was followed by a quick preview of Softcom products: PassID, N-Power, Koya, Data beaver, and Ewoyo
The conference ended with the unveiling of the N-Power report and cocktails for attendees.
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