I have no doubt that Nigeria has a large reservoir of talent and ingenuity. We have built our business on the expertise of Nigerian IT experts and programmers. At the outset we realised that we have all the necessary domestic resources to make it happen. Education was essential to nurturing such talent and giving it full expression. However, we need to do more, so that in our country all children receive a decent level of schooling. And the fundamental aspect of education is literacy.
Literacy as the basis of education: this is where fets is taking action on Children's Day. But, we are also going further: we believe that our initiative - in addition to promoting basic literacy - will help nurture a culture of reading.
That is why Fets – the mobile money company I serve as CEO – is providing books to public schools in Lagos and Abuja. We want to encourage children to use libraries, to see them as living spaces, as cathedrals of ideas, and as places of fun and learning.
For it is there than children can gain insight beyond their own experience. Reading fires the imagination, spurs quick learning and gives one the ability to grapple with complex issues. Few nations in the world are as complex as Nigeria. However, those that shall negotiate such complexity will be today’s young Nigerians - we just need to give them the skills to succeed.
My company reflects the belief that this can be done. All our employees are local, and they have built complex IT and fintech systems serving millions of users from first principles. And in our central mission to bring down the number of unbanked in the country, which still stands at around 80 million, our user-friendly app is now available not just in English, but also in Hausa, Igbo, Pidgin and Yoruba. This multi-lingual functionality is the first of its kind in the fintech market in Nigeria.
So basic literacy in any of the 5 main Nigerian languages enables you to use fetswallet. Such usage promotes financial inclusion, secures payments and makes access to capital easier. In sum, it enables individuals to better their lives. Yet at fets we would like to do more. We know that passion for literature invigorates the imagination. It gives you the power to conjure different futures. It sows the seeds of innovation. Rather than merely help themselves, nimble and freethinking readers can find solutions that help entire populations.
Children with curiosity for learning and literature are the leaders of tomorrow. We must therefore strive to not only boost literacy rates, but also promote and deepen a vibrant reading culture in Nigeria. The more creative thinkers and problem solvers - the better. It is these curious, inquisitive and eager young minds that will benefit us all. As we celebrate Children’s Day – let us do all we can to help them along.