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Ovia: Youths Need to Grow With Ict Background
[May 26, 2006]

Ovia: Youths Need to Grow With Ict Background

( English Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)Lagos, May 24, 2006 (This Day/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) --"Be the Boss Tomorrow, Empower Yourself with ICT" was the theme of the message of the Managing Director, Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia to the students who filled the auditorium of Agip Recital Hall of the Muson Centre, Lagos on the last day of the CTO 2006. The event which was the fourth edition of Youth Empowerment Forum for Digital Revolution (CTO 2006) organised by the US Commercial Service Lagos, witnessed a huge turnout of youths across the country as it was quite interesting and educative.

The Forum was Zenith Bank's contribution to youth empowerment aimed at helping to bridge the digital divide through early exposure to ICT tools and skills.

Ovia a strong believer in the Information technology as a tool for change, started by telling the students that firstly, every youth must discover who they are. For them to succeed in life he said, "they need to know who they are by discovering the strengths and weakness they possess".

The Zenith Bank CEO told the gathering that a boss is an employer, a person in charge. "For you to be the Boss, you must firstly, discover the possibilities within the ICTs by participating in seminars, workshop and free trainings. Secondly, Acquire the knowledge and skills of IC by by improving basic computer literacy skills and using internet frequently.

He urged them to explore and use the knowledge and skills in area of web-design, publishing, databases,programming, photo and film editing, software development and networking as all will aid in providing employment to them when they most needed it.

Ovia told the youths to focus on the area of their personal interest by following their passion, building confidence and deepen knowledge.

He disclosed to the teeming youths that they should Extend and Innovate by participating in projects related to the environment they find themselves extending beyond their areas of core competence or comfort zone.

He emphasized "Being a boss: The Power of Positive thinking, attitude is everything. The way we think, the way we behave, the way we make our choices. Commitment determines whether you succeed or fail. You need courage to undertake adventure. See problems as opportunities in disguise. Keep the end result in sight and develop the survival instinct."

According to him, Nigeria is Africa's biggest ICT market and one of the biggest worldwide. The reason for Africa's new telecoms growth rating as the fastest growing in the world is as a result of recent revolution and growth in Nigeria's telecoms sector.

He noted that with over 130 million Nigerians, Telephony penetration has grown faster than internet and computer (Internet users =1.8 million; 2 percent of population, Internet banking users=500,000, Internet access points 800,000 with offices, 77 percent homes 18.9 percent cyber cafes, 4.7 percent At least 5 persons to 1 internet access point.

From ITU, NCC, National Space Research and Development Agency (NSRDA) 2005 research and EIG, he said, about 10 million Nigerians use computers. 2005 estimates, states that 2.5 million corporate entities and 4.6 million individuals use computers making 18,500 people to 1 computer.

Indeed, in Nigeria, he said, telephone subscription has grown by an average of about 80 percent per annum for the past four years. Every Nigerian is projected to have at least one telephone line by the year 2020.

Ovia disclosed that Microsoft boss Bill Gates, is currently working on introducing a specially configured cellular phone which can be converted by connecting it to a TV and a keyboard which if introduced would make life and business easier for all.

Though the cost of technology is out of reach for most of the youths, he urged them to facilitate self development through ICT. Students, he said could form Internet study Groups and seek opportunities for acquiring ICT skills.

The Zenith Bank boss suggested that youths should take advantage of the government and private sector initiatives of the Computer In School Initiative (CISI) as well as the Internet In School Initiative (ISI) and focus on the development of the nation's ICT infrastructure.

On the Nigerian IT market, he told the youths that the market is grossly untapped, with a value of over $5bn and an average growth rate of 9.5 per cent per annum while confirming from his rich knowledge of the industry that the market has the capacity to contribute at least 10 percent of the country's GDP in the next five years.

Ovia, with practical illustrations, said they should take the use of ICT tools as a primary hobby, stating that youths need to save inorder to purchase ICT facilities.

He however, told them to use every opportunity to learn a new thing on how ICT tools can improve education, career and their life.

ICT he said "is the same globally. So if you promote enterpreneurship among people in ICT, you can compete wide world"

He made his contact available to the gathering to accommodate people with ideas on ICT products/services and proposals and promised to provide funds for those desirous of getting their proposals implemented.

He further explained that by the year 2007 when the next CTO will hold, prizes will be given to the best 6 persons who have already started the implementation.

It would be recalled that during last year's CTO, Ovia also thrilled the youths who filled the Shell Hall of the MUSON centre with the theme 'Encouraging Nigerian Youths to Utilise ICT'. Ovia, an ardent ICT enthusiast is the former president of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) as well as Chairman of both the Nigeria Software Development Initiative (NSDI) and National Information Technology Advisory Committee (NITAC).

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