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Interswitch harps on innovation, skills to solve national issues, others

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Interswitch Group has harped on students’ ability to identify social issues and proffer solutions for increased innovations using STEM knowledge, adding that high intelligence quotient (IQ) is necessary but not sufficient to be exceptional in life.

Interswitch recently selected 81 students for the InterswitchSPAK competition to reward excellence, provide innovative opportunities and spur national development.

Speaking during the InterswitchSPAK Masterclass 1.0, Group Managing Director, Interswitch Group, Mitchell Elegbe, charged students to break out of their cocoon and strive to be the best in their chosen careers, adding that challenges create opportunities for growth.

“People from poor backgrounds are in better position to identify problems that needs urgent solved because they have gone through certain hurdles. So, be focused and be exceptional because many innovators in the world today identified problems in the society and then proffered solutions to them,” he added. 

The initiative being part of the firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative is encompassing and focused on education, entrepreneurship and leadership. He said the SPAK (Speed, Precision, Accuracy and Knowledge) Masterclass 1.0 is to share ideas outside class room learning for increased employment opportunities.

“Social innovation is proffering solutions to human problems thereby creating employment opportunity for themselves and others. Nigeria population is about 200 million and it keeps growing; means we cannot rely on the government to provide for everyone.“For the innovative challenge, students will be divided into nine groups to address issues concerning health care, public transportation and education, while each team will be mentored by two captains from Interswitch Group,” he added.

He said students are expected to research and discover solutions to these problems using Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) knowledge.In his words: “The winning team of the challenge will get the Founder’s Award. After the Innovation Challenge is the TV quiz competition on STEM subjects for home viewers, targeted at students aged between 14 and 17 years in SS 2.  It aims at encouraging and guiding students on career paths for full optimisation of their potentials and become inventors.

“The winner of the TV Quiz competition gets N7.5 million scholarship award for five years in a tertiary institution. The second prize is N4.5 million in scholarship funding for three years of tertiary education while the third prize is N1.5 million scholarships for one year.”On emotional intelligence and leadership responsibility of youths, Elegbe said it is germane to excel even among the highly intelligent people.

Meanwhile, European digital money transfer service, Azimo, partners Interswitch Group to increase financial inclusion and ease instant money transfers from 23 countries in Europe to customers in Nigeria. Speaking on the partnership, Founder and CEO, Azimo, Michael Kent, said fintech markets in Nigeria is now favourable due to Nigeria’s teeming population and increasing Internet penetration.

“We look forward to working with Interswitch to build new digital low-cost financial services that drive inclusion and transform the financial lives of our customers in both the UK and Africa,” he added.Speaking on the partnership, Group Managing Director, Interswitch Group, Mitchell Elegbe, said: “We formed this partnership with Azimo as they are a global leader in cross-border payments with great tech capability and strong knowledge of our core markets. This agreement is a key milestone in our common strategy to better serve the Nigerians where ever they are located around the world.”

Digital money transfers play a significant role in the growth of Nigeria’s economy – the largest in Africa. Remittances to the nation were worth $22 billion in 2017 – the equivalent of 5.6 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP and higher than the country’s oil revenues.

In the longer term, the deal will help build new mobile-based financial services for Interswitch’s rapidly expanding customer base of over 25 million people in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Nigeria is among the top five countries for inbound remittances with over $20bn received every year, according to the World Bank.


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