IT Experts Advise On Advanced Technology Investment
Technology experts have identified the crucial role advanced technology plays in creating wealth for Nigerians and reducing poverty.
They have therefore advocated increased investment in technology not only making the technology more accessible, but also in converting data into practical solutions that will impact on lives.
They called for capacity building in the use of machine learning to address financial inclusion in order to meet the Federal Government’s target of achieving 80 per cent financial inclusion for Nigerians by 2020.
The experts drawn from the telecoms industry, financial sector and the regulator highlighted the role of artificial intelligence in financial inclusion at the Data Science Nigeria Financial Inclusion Summit in Lagos.
The Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Akin Banuso, said that advanced technology as artificial intelligence was capable of solving local problems by improve human ingenuity without totally replacing humans.
He pointed out that Nigeria’s development could be accelerated by encouraging skills development in the field of data science and the AI.
Banuso said, “If you have the right amount of data, you will be able to correlate it, and draw the right inferences from it. How can we get to have enough amount of data that helps us predict where we need to locate shared services that will enrich and enhance the lives of people? How do we get to know who needs what services? Financial inclusion is one of the pillars but data should be used for health care and proper deployment of resources.”
The Head, Financial Inclusion Secretariat, Central Bank of Nigeria, Temitope Akin-Fadeyi, said operators needed technology to make significant progress in the 80 per cent financial inclusion target by 2020.
“Beyond mobile money wallet and super agent licence, the CBN has released an exposure draft of payment service banks that seeks to broaden the space of solutions providers for financial services,” she added.
The Convener, DSN and the Chief Transformation Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr Bayo Adekambi, said the essence of the five-day residential AI boot camp and hackathon was to accelerate Nigeria’s development through a solutions-oriented approach to using machine learning to solve both social and business problems.
“We are teaching people how to apply their mathematical ability to solve a fundamental problem that is critical to our existence as a people. Poverty is a serious problem. Poor people don’t have access to funds to run businesses that are as low as 500. How do we create new algorithms that will allow banks to give loan to these people? We need to use data to accelerate access to financial inclusion for economic prosperity because there is a benefit for everyone,” he added.
According to the Executive Director, Systemspecs, Deremi Atanda, the concept of financial inclusion has to do with the eradication of extreme poverty and distribution of wealth.
Atanda added, “This whole thing is about the poor. It is about identifying the people who are financially excluded and defining interventions for different demographics and we as a technology player in that financial transaction space, there are some set of people who we bring to the market that can help us.”