By Providence Obuh
The Chairman, Lapo Microfinance Bank, Dr. Osarenren Emokpae, has advocated the need to extend help to the less privileged for social justice even as he frowns at the rise in poverty level in the country. Emokpae doubles as an entrepreneur who is into consulting, Advertising, Private Security, Logistics, Courier, Export, Trading, Conference/Event Centre, among others with about 4000 staff in his employ.
Speaking at the occasion to mark his Diamond Jubilee celebration in Lagos, he said, “It is my wish that we as a people begin to demonstrate love to our fellow human beings. Those who are privileged should be there to bless those who are less privileged. If we do this, the country will be better and life will be better for everyone.
“Until we begin to come to that point, we cannot have what we call social justice and the democracy we are talking about will not be beneficial to everyone.
“I expect as a nation or a people that we must begin to focus at a time like this on the less privileged in the society. We have enough in this country, we are the richest country in the black world and we do not have any excuse to have so many people pauper. I believe we can begin to move forward on social equity where people begin to receive equal stake as citizens of the country.”
Speaking on the theme: “Innovating Africa” Director, Ecobank Transnational, Dr. Tosin Atewologun, said that the absence of innovation in the continent is one of the challenges of leadership found in many African countries.
He pointed out that African leaders suffer post traumatic stress disorder when they win elections and so they fail to translate their promises and properly encapsulate the legitimate expectations of the governed, which eventually leads to decay and pain in the life of many people they rule.
Atewologun said that innovating Africa is dependent on five primary drivers, leadership, infrastructure, research creativity and market sophistication, especially that innovation must be embraced by both the public and private sectors and that the opportunity open for innovating Africa spreads across every sector.
“It is my hope and expectation that leadership in Africa would embrace the concept of innovation and drive the progress of innovation.”
Additionally, he said, Africa has 340 million young people between the ages of 15 and 35, the median age of Africa is 19.7 years, for the rest of the world, it is 13.4, therein lies opportunity for innovation. When we have such a large young population that is estimated by 2045 to reach 600 million, what else do you want this continent to be.
“Four of the largest rivers in the world are of the continent of Africa, Zambezi, Congo, Niger and the Nile. The Congo has the largest potential of hydro electricity in the world, because of the numerous cataract and forge that typifies the Congo River, that is the river that is considered as having the highest potential in the world for hydro electricity, yet about 690 million Africans have no access to electricity.
The total electricity generated in Africa is less than that of Spain, if you exclude southern Africa. Less than total electricity generated in Spain. For instance, it will take Africa up to 2080 for every Africa to have access to regular electricity at current rate,” he said.