Business mogul and former Chairman, United Bank of Africa, UBA, Hakeem Belo-Osagie have called on regulators to reduce the barrier to entry into the financial technology industry in Nigeria to grant more entrepreneurs opportunities to key into the sector.
He made the call at the Mekaria Mentorship Programme Coffee chat series 3, organized by Osita Chidoka, the former Aviation Minister on Friday.
Speaking as a guest at the live online program held on the Osita Chidoka Facebook fan page, the entrepreneur expressed joy at having the opportunity to address young people, adding that it is always a pleasure to him.
Belo-Osagie regretted the leaders’ failure in providing a platform for young entrepreneurs to thrive and make the necessary changes, noting that Nigeria was filled with people from different backgrounds and loads of talent.
He extolled praises on the former Minister, Chidoka, for creating the mentorship platform.
He said: “Chidoka, from my friendship and interactions with you, which I think has been beneficial to both of us, I’ve seen you’re one of the A-blessed in your generation and when you asked me to come on this program, I said to myself, this is something I must do. Thank you for all you have done with this program.”
Commenting on his achievements especially on acquiring the most shares in UBA at a young age, Belo-Osagie noted that the idea of young people coming together to own a bank and accomplish something remarkable showed that a team from different parts of Nigeria could come together, overcome their differences and achieve so much.
“Though due to systematic changes in the financial market, it may be difficult for young people in the 21st century to acquire a Bank and take it to a higher level, Belo-Osagie stated that they are other areas young people can key in to bring the necessary changes especially technology,” he said.
The academic guru, however, called on youths to utilize the opportunity in the tech space as a means of entry into the banking, insurance, and other parts of the finance, in the light of high barriers set up by regulators.
When asked if he will trust a young person and invest in a tech idea, Hakeem Belo-Osagie answered in affirmative, adding that every young person has potential and should be encouraged once they prove they are trustworthy and has the requisite knowledge.
In his message to young Nigerians, he defined youth as the time to dare to think different, to have setbacks but not be discouraged, to take risks, to educate oneself and be open to new experiences, shunning religious and ethnic bigotry, embracing humility, self-reliance, and hard work.
He encouraged the youths to have a clear picture of a Nigeria bound by a common humanity and ambition, and at such embrace their differences and work together to achieve the common goal.
The mentorship series which is organized by Chidoka in memory of his mentor, Chief Ojo Mmadụekwe, aims to create an online platform where personalities who have carved a niche in their industry share their experiences and help young people figure out their path in life.