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How Dare You? – Get Inspiration from the Story of Verve Cards International

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Energetic, electrifying, invigorating and inspiring are just some of the plethora of words that can be used to describe the only African present in the 150 class size of Judges Business School, University of Cambridge, UK – Class of 2011; pioneer member of the Interswitch team; and currently the Country Manager of Verve International, Nigeria’s leading e-payment card company, Oremeyi Akah.
Oremeyi was part of the lead speakers at the Rise Nationa Youth Conference, Benin Session, Nigeria. The event with the theme, “Nigeria Beyond Oil” focused on Entertainment, Agriculture and Technology (E.A.T.) as the next most productive sectors. Oremeyi spoke on Technology. She used the rise of Verve International to emphasize the potency and opportunities technology can afford. The abridged version goes thus:
“The Central Bank of Nigeria gave a directive to all banks in Nigeria that all ATM cards available in circulation should be branded. ” At that time, cards were primarily powered by Interswitch, Verve’s parent company. The directive forced the banks to look at options to follow while consulting with Interswitch. Mastercard and Visa were the two leading card brands in the world; the banks we considering which one to go for when Oremeyi and her team brought an idea, “Why don’t we create our own card brands?” Shocked and startled the banks were, no African company has been able to do than not even in South Africa which got an earlier exposure to technology than Nigeria. Oremeyi and her team got this confidence piercing question “How dare you?” But they were undeterred.
Back to the books they went, googling all day and night. They even consulted with the big names for help, but help had eloped. China was the only country apart from the big names to have done a similar project and that succeeded because of a very large indegeous market. “If the most populous country in Asia and the world could do it, the most populous black nation could also do it” was their regular motivation. In the staring eyes of a dangerously ticking deadline and the onlooking of the banks, using only Nigerian programmers and professionals, Verve was delivered ‘Africa’s first indegenous card brand.’
“Currently, 65% of cards used by the banking Nigerian population is carrying the verve logo” according to Oremeyi. Verve has also gone international with an ongoing project supported by the Central Bank of Gambia and a simultaneous project in Uganda.Verve is truly the card by Africans for Africa.
Easy it may seem; barrels of diesel was gulped by the generating set. Hours of sleep and rest had been marred, millions of Naira in investment, series of testing without success. At the end the success made all the sufferings disappear.
Have you been faced with the question, “How dare you?” Are you even the one questioning your abilities? Dust yourself, rise, reach out, keep learning and collaborate. Sometimes soon, we’ll love to hear your story on The Spectacles.
See you at the top!

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Born Strategist, Trained Engineer, Media Enthusiast, Passionate Technologist and God's second born

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