Vilius Gofmanas about Business Trip to Nigeria

Published: 14 June 2019 y., Friday

In the beginning of May, BS/2 Software Sales Manager Vilius Gofmanas and Head of IT Solutions Support Department Sergej Pokusajev visited Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria. The main objective of the BS/2 representatives and our partners Sigma Hellas from Greece was meeting with clients in Nigeria and their training.

BS/2 has been working in the Nigerian market for a long time, and the last two years were particularly active. One of the largest customers in terms of the number of ATMeye.iQ licenses acquired is Zenith Bank, which has branches in the UK.

Relationships with Nigerian banks

“We can say that Zenith is our business card in Africa. The maintenance of all equipment and software is entrusted to the bank’s maintenance team. The goal of our trip was to train bank employees, as well as to familiarize them with ATMeye.iQ,” says Vilius Gofmanas. “We also met the management of the bank to discuss partnership and demonstrate our products. It is gratifying that the Cash Management.iQ software solution aroused particular interest. We hope that soon it will be in demand here.”

According to Vilius, BS/2 communicates with most of the 28 Nigerian banks, and cooperation with them is expected to expand. The meeting with the staff of Diebold Nixdorf (its representation is located in Nigeria) took place during a business trip. Current trends in the banking sector of the country were discussed with colleagues.

Nigeria Banking

“The developing market, which technologically lags behind us a few steps, looks ahead and seeks opportunities for development. Bank Zenith has become interested in the facial recognition system developed by BS/2. The presentation of the biometric recognition will be in the near future. Modern ATMs meet modern security requirements. However, the problem is the lack of technical service centers and insufficient staff education. It’s very difficult to find a highly qualified specialist there,” says Vilius.

Self-service banking system in Nigeria is different to ours. The vast majority of ATMs are located in the bank branches, most of which are located in or near the city. In the so-called ATM galleries there are up to 10 units of different manufacturers - from self-service terminals to ATMs with the functions of issuing or accepting cash. There are no cash recycling devices in the country.

African time concept

Asked about cultural differences, Vilius smiled and told about a peculiar time understanding in Nigeria. Often meetings are not scheduled. Punctuality is not important for locals. The beginning of business meetings or cultural events may not correspond to the planned time at all. Nothing will change if everything starts later. Among the reasons are traffic jams. In fact, there are a lot of cars and no rules.

Country of contrasts

The former capital, Lagos is the most populous (over 13 million) in Nigeria and on the African continent. The city is located along the Guinea Gulf on the mainland and four islands connected by bridges and highways. The old town and commercial areas are located on the island of West Lagos, residential areas - on Victoria Island, where BS/2 employees stayed.

“The living standards on the island and the mainland are markedly different. We have seen both luxury and poverty. People live in slums, sleep under bridges, on the streets. The territory of the city is divided into quarters. Separate areas are fenced with barbed wire. By the way, we were met and accompanied by an armed convoy at the airport, because Nigeria ranks third in the ranking of countries in terms of terrorism after Iraq and Afghanistan. The radical Islamist group "Boko Haram", which opposes Western culture, democracy and other components of "alien" culture, operates in the north and northeast of Nigeria.

Despite the fact that only a third of young people in the country have primary education, and literacy is less than 60 percent, in recent years, the Nigerian economy has been leading in Africa. The government of the country is committed to keeping up with global digitalization.

“Summing up the visit, I can say that the potential for development in this market is great. We still have a lot of work,” concluded Vilius.

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