2021 Lagos Summit: Gathering of Stars to Drive Economic Revitalisation

It is said that when stars meet, expect the world to explode. The same can be said of the 8th Annual Lagos Summit that played host to big names and brands like President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akin Adesina; newly appointed Director General of World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; President Muhammadu Buhari; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State; founder of Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MOF), Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim, and many others.

The Lagos Summit which is otherwise known as Ehingbeti Summit has contributed to the existence of outstanding infrastructural deliverables for Lagos and her people which include the Lekki-Epe Expressway, Pen Cinema Bridge, International Airport Road, Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge, and Agric Isawo Road. It also engendered the delivery of five Independent Power Projects (IPPs) on the Mainland and Island.

The theme of the 8th Annual Lagos Summit was “For a Greater Lagos: Setting the Tone for the Next Decade”. The focus was on economic revival after the deadly impact of the global pandemic and events like the EndSARS protest that almost crippled the economic life of Lagos.

President Muhammadu Buhari who spoke virtually noted that his administration recognizes Lagos State as central to the economic fortunes of Nigeria:

“The challenges of Lagos must therefore be very clearly seen as part of the challenges of Nigeria, and the Federal Government will support Lagos to overcome its challenges, and to thrive socially and economically.”

Every dream is first envisioned. The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, shared his Lagos vision for 2030 at the event, and called on all well-meaning Nigerians to join in his vision of Lagos for 2030.

His words: “There will be a city-wide network of colour-coded Metro Lines, the first two of which -red and blue lines will move over 34.5 million people monthly, cutting travel time by over 259 percent. In 2030, Lagos will proudly stand beside every other megacity in the world in terms of its capacity to transport its people efficiently and responsively.

“Water transportation infrastructure being put in place will make waterway transport systems a central element of life in the metropolis. The 4th Mainland Bridge will come to define the cityscape of the 2020s in the same way the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge defined it a decade earlier.

“By 2030, Lagos will be a Smart City, fully covered by a network of several thousands of kilometers of fibre optic infrastructure that will carry broadband internet into homes, offices and schools.

“The Smart City that is unfolding will also be home to a network of intelligent cameras that will support not only security and policing across the state, but also traffic management and data collection for urban planning.

“By 2030, Lagos will be home to one of the largest Rice Mills in the world, after we deliver our 32 metric tons per hour rice factory in Imota, which will produce 2.8 million bags of 50kg bags of rice per annum.”

The idea of a city-wide network of colour-coded Metro Lines is one that is deployed in megacities across the world. Color coded lines represent different rail lines. The idea of using colors to distinguish transit lines is because they are a simple and user-friendly way to organise the transport system.

They are equally used to speed visual search. Visual searching occurs when we actively scan the environment to locate a specific feature among many distractions. In this regard, color facilitates visual research by making it easier to visually follow the path of a rail line. It helps the user perceive the continuity of lines at intersections.

But the choice of a colour-coding scheme has to take into consideration the fact that it affects the usability of metro maps, as measured by the accuracy and speed of navigation. Colors lines are not as simple as they may seem. After eight or so lines, using colors for each different route becomes impractical as there would be no longer primary or secondary colors left to use for names.

Running out of colors has always been the concern of most countries that deploy the colour-coding system. All the colors of the rainbow may not be enough for the transit lines. This is because as the system grows and new lines are added, continuing the use of colors will mean selecting names based on the shades of colors, which can sometimes be difficult to decipher on maps and signage.

A color-coded system that takes into consideration some of the problems that come with it and addressing it before the eventual manifestation is the future.

In her presentation, WTO’s boss, Okonjo-Iweala, equally commended Sanwo-Olu’s vision of a Smart City for Lagos where it would be fully covered by a network of several thousands of kilometers of fibre optic infrastructure. Okonjo-Iweala, who emphasised the need to make Lagos a home of massive industrial hubs, noted that the fibre optic programme will make Lagos a manufacturing hub of digital products that will shape the global economy in the next decade.

According to experts, three layers work together to make a smart city operate. The first layer is a technology base that includes a critical mass of smartphones and sensors connected by high speed communication networks.

A second layer of specific applications translates the constant stream of raw data into alerts, insights, and action. The third application involves getting buy-in and participation from the public. That is, apps that show traffic volume in real time, allowing drivers and pedestrians to better plan travel routes and adapt at a moment’s notice.

This include real-time crime mapping which helps in policing; telemedicine, which brings in health practitioners into the homes of patients; digital tracking of waste receptacles which tells a garbage company or organisation like LAWMA that a trash bin is full. This is coupled with online connection platform that provide internet access or battery charging for personal devices.

If the dream of a Smart City is realized, Lagos will soon join highly digitalized cities like Singapore, Dubai, Oslo, Copenhagen, Boston, Amsterdam, New York, London, and Barcelona.

AfDB’s president, Akin Adeshina, lent his voice on the question of youth empowerment. He cited the increasing youth population as a business asset which if capitalized on, would bring immense growth and development to Lagos. While commending the Lagos’ Digital Skill Empowerment initiative for the youth, the AfDB boss encouraged the creation of a youth based economy. That is, one that specifically targets the skilled young population.

Akin Adeshina was in fact reiterating the very orientation of the Federal Government which has informed the numerous youth empowerment initiatives it has undertaken. The president while speaking at the Lagos Summit stated that, “Speaking of young people, we are aware of just how central they are to the Lagos economy, and to Nigeria as a whole.

“In the creative arts, culture and technology sectors, we are determined to continue to open up opportunities by which they can achieve their dreams and aspirations, as well as thrive in a safe, secure and increasingly prosperous country.”

The president told the 8th Lagos Summit he has approved the temporary transfer of revamping the National Theater to the Bankers’ Committee which will invest in seeing that it turns out to be a world-class creative hub. The revamping of the National theater kicked off by the Federal Government according to CBN’s governor was targeted to “unlock the creative talents of hundreds and thousands of Nigerian youths in the fields of music, movie, fashion, and information technology.”

Recall that Godwin Emefiele who noted this while speaking upon the signage of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) stated that the “Bankers’ Committee was to provide funding for a prototype cluster labelled “the Signature Cluster” which consists of a building each for Music, Film, Fashion, and Information Technology verticals.”

At the Lagos Summit, President Buhari also expressed confidence that enterprising young people in Lagos will be the biggest beneficiaries of the National Theater when fully upgraded into a world-class hub.

Rice is one of the major staple foods in Nigeria and is the typical food for every man as it is consumed across all Nigerian socio-economic classes.

Read Also: World Summit for Single Market in Africa Holds 2021 in Nigeria

Experts posit that only about 57% of the 6.7 million metric tonnes of rice consumed in Nigeria on an annual basis is locally produced. This illustrates a supply deficit of about three million metric tons which is imported, with its attendant depletion of the nation’s foreign reserves. The vision of Governor Sanwo-Olu is to make Lagos the home to one of the largest rice mills in the world, which will save the country a lot of money.

A lot of job opportunities will abound in the area of distribution as distributors will be needed to ride from various mills to different parts of the country. This will also project President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision to make Nigeria not just self-sufficient in rice production, but to become an exporting country eventually.

Andy Charles

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