Jim Ovia, Chairman of Zenith Bank, Nigeria speaks at a session at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town

Xenophobia: Jim Ovia Pulls Out of WEF in South Africa Shortly After Making an Appearance

Jim Ovia, chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, has pulled out of the World Economic Forum (WEF) taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, over xenophobic attacks the country. This is coming shortly after Ovia made an appearance at a WEF session in South Africa on Wednesday September 4th.

Ovia and Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of education, took a bashing in the Nigerian social media for their participation in the meeting. Some Nigerians described their action as ”insensitive”.

In a statement on Thursday, Ovia said he was withdrawing from further participation in the forum to add his voice against the poor state of security of foreign nationals in South Africa.

Before exiting the forum, the entrepreneur asked the South African government to focus on youth empowerment to curb continual attacks on foreign nationals.

‘’Following the hypersensitivity of the issues surrounding the lives and well-being of Nigerian citizens living in South Africa and to contribute his voice against the poor state of security regarding foreign nationals living in Africa, the Founder/Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia has withdrawn from further activities at the World Economic Forum Africa 2019, taking place in Cape Town, South Africa,’’ the statement read.

‘’Before taking his exit, Mr. Ovia stressed the need for youth empowerment and better government policies to curb continual attacks on persons living within and outside Africa. He belaboured that until positive change towards collective growth happens on this front, the continent would not reach its potential.

‘’Mr. Ovia added that full support should be rendered in vocational education of the young persons living in not just Nigeria but Africa. According to him, the Jim Ovia Foundation has taken up a stance on this issue, having empowered over 3,500 students and entrepreneurs since its inception. He called on other members of the private sector to join hands and solve this menace plaguing the African continent.’’

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