The Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh has disclosed that Nigeria stands a better position to create more billionaires, should government invest heavily in information and communications technology (ICT) that is currently driving global economies.
“With the right kind of investment in technological platforms and the overwhelming support of the government in providing the requisite enabling environment, Nigeria can effortlessly produce global billionaires from the ICT sector,” Ekeh said.
He made the disclosure recently when he was interviewed by the Cable News Network (CNN).
Serial digital entrepreneur, Ekeh who has built arguably Africa’s most integrated ICT conglomerate – the Zinox Group – is confident that with significant investment in ICT, the challenge of youth unemployment, inadequate opportunities and growing restiveness among the youth can be arrested. For this to happen, however, the government has to actively engage the youths by investing massively in ICT which, in his opinion, has become the fancy of young people.
Ekeh is a firm believer in the numerous opportunities which abound in the rapidly evolving ICT-driven future – a knowledge economy in which wealth is no longer the exclusive preserve of a privileged few.
“The miracle of ICT is that it is the only profession in the world today that can make the child of a poor man to become the richest man in the world. The challenge, however, is that majority of our youths are in a closed community in which the standards are still poor so they cannot exhibit their innate intellectual strength. As a result, they are seen as defeated and a lot of them are unemployed,” Ekeh said.
“We are doing our bit to correct this situation but government support will go a long way in helping the country achieve more. Presently, Zinox is building digital training centres and tech hubs across the country and empowering many of our youths. We have also committed some significant investment in a number of tech start-ups. Recently, we invested in an Ibadan-based software company – Xputer. Interestingly, some of the apps being created by the young chaps Xputer are driving the business processes of the major e-commerce outfits in the country. All they needed was a bit of exposure and support to help them scale up,” Ekeh added.
“The same situation applies to many of our youth. Today, if you give these youths the right platforms, which I must say is not expensive, Nigeria can produce a minimum of 10 billionaires from the ICT sector in the next few years,” he added.
According to him, 99 per cent of youths today want to go into trending professions like lifestyle professions and that is what ICT really is. If government invests in this sector as it should, Nigeria is capable of producing several billionaires straight out of the technology space.
Among his many tech ventures, Ekeh pioneered Zinox Computers, Nigeria’s first internationally certified and most popular indigenous computer brand which has powered several international conferences including the African Union conference in Gambia and the 18th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which held in Abuja in 2003, in addition to being severally deployed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the registration and successful conduct of elections in Nigeria.
“We came with a computer with an in-built surge protector in line with the peculiar power challenges in Nigeria. At Zinox, we are closest to the people with 14 offices nationwide. Zinox has sold in every local government and town in the country today and the call centre is 24 hours. It’s a brand for Nigeria – global standard but specific to Nigeria,” he noted.