The Bank of Kigali in Rwanda has appointed a Nigerian, Obinna Ukwuani, as its chief digital officer.
Rwanda’s The New Times reports that Mr Ukwuani replaced Regis Rugemanshuro in June and has been tasked to lead the bank’s Digital Factory Division for product innovation and development in digital banking.
Mr Ukwuani holds a degree in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States and has working experiences in software, agriculture processing and education sectors.
Before his appointment, he had had a working relationship with the bank — a partnership to launch Makers Robotics Academy Rwanda, the first-ever robotics Bootcamp in the country where 40 high school students were taken through an intensive three-week course facilitated by MIT students.
He grew up in Washington DC where he had his high school diploma with good grades that eventually earned him a place at MIT. After graduation, he declined a six-figure paycheck in the United States and returned to Nigeria to develop Nigeria’s digital skills industry, he told CNN in an interview.
At a time when technological innovation hubs were opening up to the new challenges in STEM, he launched Exposure Robotics Academy – one of Nigeria’s first high-profile STEM education programmes – in Lagos in 2011.
It was a five-week residential programme of teaching creative problem solving, engineering principles, and programming to high school students during the summer.
According to him, for three years, the academy coached up to 113 students from 17 states across Nigeria and Ghana on how to code and build robots, some of whom have since gained scholarships into American universities and are just as determined to further the teaching of STEM back home.
Now, he is expected to bring to the bank new innovations to stave off new challenges on the job, judging from his entrepreneurial ventures.
Reacting to how he felt about his appointment, Mr Ukwuani said he was deeply honored to have been appointed.
He added that he was aware of the weight of the new responsibility he now shoulders.
“I carry the immense weight of my responsibility as an executive at the country’s largest bank, and the expectations of me from the Nigerian and Rwandan communities I represent and serve.
“I intend to serve with excellence and integrity, and I can only hope to continue receiving the overwhelming support expressed following the original announcement,” he said.
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