2ND - 4TH JULY 2002  (Organised By Intermarc Consulting)
 AGIP RECITAL HALL, MUSON CENTRE, ONIKAN, LAGOS

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Smartcard Expo 2002

Speech Delivered By the Chairman of Smart Card
Society of Nigeria at the Smartcard Expo 2002, 2nd July, 2002.
 (Posted 3rd July, 2002)

It is my honour to welcome you to the 2nd Annual International Conference and Exhibition on smart cards tagged SMARTCARD EXPO 2002.

The concept of smartcard other related technologies are fast gaining grounds in Nigeria. As we enter the new millennium, banking will become less manual and more electronic. Cash handling in physical form will become less fashionable as the concept of electronic banking as become acceptable in more advanced economies of Europe and America, where credit/debit cards are more popular.

Nigeria cannot be left out in the global trends that have defined the way things are done in more advanced economies. I therefore commend the organizers of this annual events i.e. Intermarc Consulting Limited, for their role as catalyst and relying point for cards initiative in Nigeria.

The way forward is therefore to redirect the energy of all players in all areas of transaction processing, by shifting small cash and non-cash transactions to the electronic stored value system, thereby freeing enormous human, physical and material resources with the effect of causing a huge reduction in overheads thus increasing profitability.

As at today, there are several electronic cash products in Nigeria i.e. Valucard, Smartpay, Securecard, Diamond paycard, ESCA Card etc. The banks involved in these projects all have one fundamental objective; viz; to considerably reduce the volume of cash outside the banking industry, while providing retail electronic banking services to the customers. The same is true for emerging ATM initiatives.

The various electronic purse projects have endangered considerable creativity and competition in the industry. The relative success of these schemes confirms that such hi-tech products can truly work as the Nigerian market and environment is ready for it.

The Market for electronic banking products is very big, as the ‘new age’ consumers will continue to demand fast, efficient and convenient banking options. Therefore forward looking Nigerian banks, following the trend in Europe and America have started designing concepts and programs to meet the customer’s expectation in the next century.

In all of these however, we have so far developed the capacities for financial applications on Smartcards thereby leaving out the vast opportunities that exist in the multi-application environment of cards. The potentials for Smartcards in transportation, health management, identification, telecommunication, toll management, franchise and utilities, as well as in Government are largely unexplored in Nigeria. This creates tremendous opportunities for investors and business whop are interested in taking advantage of the vast markets that exist in Nigeria.

Smart Cards are increasingly being adopted as part of the technical solution to address a variety of commercial opportunities. Leading companies in almost every business sector are either introducing Smartcards or are at least investigating their potential. The present fragmentation that exists within the global Smartcard arena causes confusion over standards, card type, supplies, development, implementation and marketing. Potential scheme operators need to manoeuvre their way through a myriad of choices, often not understanding the full implications of the decisions they make.

Following the outcome of the Smartcard Expo 2001 in July last year, Intermarc Consulting Limited facilitated and established the Smart Card Society of Nigeria, which was lunched in April 2002. the society was set up as an association of all stakeholders in the Smartcard business as well as digital and other electronic technologies.

Membership of the association is open to all companies, organizations, and individuals who are interested in or concerned with Smart card and related technology, whether as banks, suppliers and vendors, merchant organization, advisers, consultants, existing or potential scheme operators or end users.

The mission of the society is to encourage and stimulate the use of smartcard and other related digit or electronic technologies, thereby allowing our members to take advantage of the convenience and security offered by the rational application of new technologies.

The society aims to rapidly establish itself as the premier Nigerian forum for education, debate and promotion of all aspects of smartcard and related technologies, standards, applications and scheme.

There will no doubt be challenges to the implementation of any technology that is bound to bring about a big shift and change in the culture of the people. This is even gloomier when you consider the challenges posed by the levels of infrastructural development like communication and power.

However, the solution to these problems lie with the stakeholders, who should pull energies and resources together to ensure that the technology succeeds even in this environment. This conference offers the opportunity for groups and individuals to come together, to develop ideas and fashion out a direction for the industry.

Distinguished delegates, Ladies and gentlemen it is my belief that we will have fruitful deliberations at this 3-day conference and the result will clearly take us to the next level in card business in Nigeria. As the establishment of the Smart Card society of Nigeria is a direct outcome of the Smartcard Expo 2001 held last year, it is my fervent expectation that this edition will birth another positive development in the history of Smartcards in Africa.

I also understand that we expect to see new developments and technologies on display at the exhibition ground. I hope that we will take advantage of these opportunities to update our system and ourselves. On behalf of the Smart Card Society of Nigeria, I wish you all fruitful deliberations and a successful conference.

Thank you.

Speech Delivered By the chairman of Smart Card Society of Nigeria, Dr. Evans Woherem at the Smartcard Expo 2002, 2nd July, 2002.
 

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