Mr John Obaro, Group Managing Director of SystemSpecs Holdings Limited (SHL), underscored the critical role of enhanced broadband infrastructure in fostering digital inclusion across the continent during the recently concluded Zenith Bank Tech Fair in Lagos, themed “Future Forward 3.0.”
Now in its third iteration, the Zenith Tech Fair stands as a grand convergence of industry stalwarts, trailblazers, and budding entrepreneurs, providing a platform to delve into the transformative realm of cutting-edge technology advancements that seamlessly permeate diverse facets of the human lifestyle.
In a riveting exchange of ideas, Mr John Obaro, Prince Nnamdi Keh, CEO of Konga; Tunde Kehinde, MD, Lidya; Stan Martins, Regional Director, Meta; and Seyi Banigbe, Founder, Bland2Glam, convened for the second high-level panel discussion, delving into the theme “The intersection of Fintech, eCommerce and SMEs – Collaboration for growth.” The session was moderated by John Obidi, Author and Founder of Headstart Africa.
As per a 2022 report by Disrupt Africa, Nigeria stands as the second-largest fintech market in Africa, boasting an impressive array of over 400 fintech companies. This burgeoning fintech sector holds immense promise for the nation’s economic prosperity, yet vast untapped opportunities remain within its grasp. In contemplating the ever-transforming business landscape, Mr John Obaro highlighted the growing trend of digital payments in Nigeria. He further elaborated on how this growth is poised to impact the breadth of business operations across diverse industries significantly.
According to him, “Nigeria has made noteworthy advancements in the financial sector, with leading banks like Zenith prominently shaping the landscape of digital payments. The discernible decrease in incidents of highway robbery, attributed to the diminishing reliance on cash, underscores the transformative influence of electronic payments. This shift has not only fortified security measures but has also streamlined business operations, enabling seamless around-the-clock transactions with meticulous efficiency. The improved operational framework resulting from integration of electronic payments stands poised to significantly contribute to overall economic growth by providing a robust foundation for sustained and efficient business activities.”
During his speech at the event, His Excellency, Babajide Sanwoolu, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, lauded the growth of Remita over the years. He remarked, “Emerging from humble beginnings as a relatively unknown concept in 2005, Remita, under the astute leadership of Mr John Obaro and bolstered by my contributions as Commissioner at the time, has blossomed into a global phenomenon, captivating the industry’s attention worldwide.” He also announced the recent inauguration of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, underscoring Lagos’s ongoing commitment to providing coveted opportunities.
In describing the key enablers for propelling business digitalisation across Nigeria and Africa, Mr John Obaro describes the paramountcy of robust infrastructure, with particular emphasis on ubiquitous broadband connectivity. He envisioned a future where universal and unrestricted access to smartphones becomes a reality, contemplating the transformative impact of such widespread access. “As smartphone ownership among Nigerians continues to rise, a more expansive nationwide broadband coverage would greatly empower developers focused on creating solutions tailored to the dynamic and expansive African market,” he remarked.
The SystemSpecs GMD further highlighted the need for collaboration and support of government policies that genuinely contribute to industry growth. He acknowledged the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) for simplifying cross-border trade, aligning with his vision of facilitating smoother transactions among African nations. He described this action as a well-received strategic development critical for creating an environment conducive to digital business development across the continent.
In his concluding statement, Mr Obaro reiterated the importance of data analytics in the realm of strategic corporate planning to foster digital inclusivity in Africa. He posited, “The centrality of data analytics cannot be overstated, serving as a linchpin in the expansion of digital inclusivity and enabling a diverse array of organisations to forge connections with a broader demographic. The strategic deployment of data has, in turn, endowed businesses with the capability to transcend geographical limitations, fostering interaction not only across different regions of Nigeria but also establishing meaningful linkages with global markets.”
Mr John Obaro is regarded as a leading voice in the technology sector, shaping industry discourse through his visionary leadership. Widely recognised for his advocacy of forward-thinking approaches, addressing industry challenges, and championing the transformative power of technology, his guidance has been instrumental in SystemSpecs’ rise to one of Africa’s premier technology firms. Obaro’s contributions to the African technology landscape extend beyond his work at SystemSpecs. He is a Fellow of the Centre for African Policy Development and Research in Glasgow, Scotland, and a Fellow of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS).
SystemSpecs Holdings Limited (SHL) proudly stands at the forefront of the financial technology and human resources solutions industry. With a distinguished history spanning over three decades, SystemSpecs has consistently exemplified its commitment to providing cutting-edge technology solutions and services to clients within Nigeria and across the African continent.
The group encompasses various subsidiaries, such as Remita Payment Services Limited (RPSL), HumanManager Limited (HML), SystemSpecs Technology Services Limited (STSL) and SystemSpecs Deelaa Limited (SDL), all of which synergistically contribute to the Group’s intentional and innovative approach to addressing diverse client needs. This intentional focus on excellence and innovation positions SystemSpecs as a leader in delivering unparalleled solutions within the dynamic landscape of financial technology and human resources.