Sterling Bank, experts urge use of social media for Africa’s development

AFRICAN bloggers and all social media users across the continent must look away from the mere frivolities in the different platforms and seek probity in governance as well as engender economic and social recovery by making germane ideas and concepts available.

   This was the  view expressed by speakers at the Social Media Africa Summit, held in Lagos, ahead of its maiden awards.

   The speakers included the Chief Executive Officer of Nairobi-based African Media Initiative, Eric Chinje, Thebeetsile Ikalafeng of South Africa, and amplification catalyst and Top 60 international social media influencer, Rich Simmonds.

  The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank Plc, Yemi Adeola, said the firm associates with this noble initiative because of its focus and commitment to advancing human and social development across Africa.   

   He noted that the bank recognizes the growing relevance of social media around the world and at this stage of development, cannot overlook the importance of social media in today’s society and its increasing role in people’s daily lives, hence the need to identify with the award.

 Beside giving the bank a platform to further consolidate its strong position in the social media space, “the bank has taken this project as one of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, certain that it will impact the lives of not only Nigerians, but also others worldwide.

   “Sterling Bank will continue to identify with Generation Y, and will sustain its position as an organisation that understands the needs of its customers and leverages relevant platforms to proffer innovative solutions, which in turn enriches the lives of its customers,” he said.

 But a member of Social Media Africa Awards (SMAA) Advisory Board and Lead Consultant/Chief Executive Officer, Thistle Praxis, Mrs. Ini Onuk, said the awards were created to recognize and celebrate excellence and creativity among individuals and organizations in the use of social media tools and platforms “in order to deepen and broaden the sustainable continental developments.”

   She stressed that African bloggers- on facebook pages, blogs, twitter handles and websites – especially those winning the awards, should now bother about Brand Africa, change (in concepts, ideas, orientations, governments and commerce, among others), which would create the needed impact.

   “It is not just all about social banking, but changing the face of banking in Africa and not just about politics and change of government, but demanding accountability. It is about socio-cultural development in Africa, not about the irrelevances about celebrities or their nudity.

   “It is about roads. Why are we so disconnected from what we need in Africa? It is about why we are being killed in Africa and the world did not arise the same way it arose for Paris. It is about not insulting Africa. It is no longer about debt and AIDS, it is about Africa speaking for Africa, and until then, nothing will change,” she said.

 For Onuk, the SMAA is timely for “promoting distinctive creativity, peerless innovation and pervasive developments on the African continent through the best use of social media platforms and the rest of the social web.

   “Social media has reconfigured the way all businesses and public entities now communicate. Open-sourced and inherently radical, it has created a space adverse to the tight image controls that brands once successfully exercised.

   “With social media, marginalised dissenters can now make mince meat of the mightiest multinational brands thanks to an explosion of public platforms that have created unlimited venues for sharing facts, spreading rumours and propagating aggressive calls to action.

   “As a result, social media has subjected not just businesses but as well governments, public agencies, entities and individuals, among others, to unparalleled scrutiny, forcing them to be part of the conversation without risking over-exposure, and meet often-contradictory expectations of what a sustainable business and/or governance environment should look like.”

   She thanked the sponsors of the awards, especially Sterling Bank, which has promised to make it a sustained yearly event.

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