By BENEDICT TEMBO
UNIVERSITY of Lusaka vice-chancellor Pinalo Chifwanakeni has urged financial institutions to take advantage of the long queues of people seeking to get 20 percent partial withdrawal of their National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) contributions to impart financial literacy. Closing the first ever Data Science Hackathon at Absa Bank Zambia Plc headquarters this morning, Professor Chifwanakeni urged Absa to “catch the people queuing at Napsa and use big data to teach them financial literacy.”
He said there was need to teach people to start businesses and to save for tomorrow. Prof. Chifwanakeni opined that the rush for the 20 percent partial withdrawal of Napsa benefits was a result of financial illiteracy. He also attributed the rush for withdrawals of Napsa contributions to financial depression by most workers.
Prof. Chifwanakeni said people should be encouraged to get loans and invest wisely. He said big data is having influence everywhere, and the education sector is not an exception. Prof. Chifwanakeni noted that at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, universities resorted to online lessons to deliver lectures in which they used big data. He echoed President Hichilema’s counsel to the Water Management Authority (WARMA) and the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to provide rapid feedback to investors.
Prof. Chifwanakeni said WARMA and ZEMA could utilise intelligent technology to give feedback to investors. “The goal of innovation is to make the work of people easy,” he said.
Prof Chifwanakeni wondered why Zambia is still lagging in development when it has so many intelligent people. He commended the top three participants of the first ever Data Science Hackathon who have been given internship opportunities by Absa.
Prof Chifwanakeni said the three skilled data scientists can make an impact not just for Absa but the industry at large. He commended Absa for the initiative of identifying the talent through the Data Science Hackathon.
And Absa Managing Director Mizinga Melu said the bank did not only see the queues but opportunities to partner with Napsa. Ms Melu said Absa reached out to Napsa to help people access their benefits and factored in financial literacy.
“This is how partnerships are created. We have seen the value of big data,” he said.
Absa Bank Zambia announced the launch of the first ever Data Science Hackathon on Tuesday with the objective of growing awareness of the importance of data and create a pool of talent that Absa can use to recruit skilled Data Scientists. Ms Melu announced that as a digitally led bank, Absa had committed to create awareness around data and its importance and harness the opportunity the use of data presents in driving innovation in organizations and the world at large.
She said the bank believes in the revolution that technology and financial services are going to bring together and that the fuel that will drive this technological revolution will be big data.
In a speech he read by the bank’s acting managing director Maliki, .s Melu also noted that organisation’s now have an obligation to set a big data strategy, identify big data sources, analyze the data coming up with intelligent data driven decisions and solutions. Big data is driving insights and innovation beyond organisation.
And speaking at the same event, Minister of Technology and Science Minister Felix Mutati said ‘’use of data aids in precision decision making and enhances efficiencies in an organisation.’’
Mr Mutati cmmended the bank for taking the lead in the driving innovation using big data and that the Bank’s agenda with such initiatives was in line with the Government’s digital strategy.