The twenty-first edition of the Lagos State Economic Summit, popularly called ‘”Ehingbeti” has opened in the Victoria Island area of the State, with economic experts tasking the State on renewal of infrastructure and youth development.
Held biennially, Ehingbeti is a Private sector-driven Summit convened to address and chart the direction for the state’s socio-economic growth and development.
One of the experts and the newly-elected Director-General of the World Trade Organization, WTO, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said apart from construction of roads, Lagos should invest in technology, embrace artificial Intelligence and digital economy, ensure a steady and sustainable supply of electricity and renewable energy to remain competitive in the next decade.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala who joined the summit virtually said she was excited about development in the technology space and ready to negotiate agreements on e-commerce.
She urged the Lagos State government to move from importing raw materials to exporting primary raw products to industrialize Africa.
In his contribution, the President, African Development Bank, AfDB, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, called for more investment in education and youth development, while private sector participation should be given a boost for Lagos to achieve its vision of becoming a smart city.
Noting that the poverty level in Lagos had reduced from 30.3% in 2009 to 4.5% in 2019, Dr Adeshina who pointed out that 20% of the population of the State live in slums also canvassed investment in the environment to ensure a healthier Lagos
In a goodwill message via video, President Muhammadu Buhari pledged that the Federal Government would support more massive investments in Lagos State to boost its economic potential as one of the world’s fastest-growing megacities.
President Buhari said his administration recognizes Lagos as central to the economic fortunes of Nigeria and has in the last few years demonstrated commitment to supporting it unleashes its full socio-economic potential.
He said the challenges of the State must be clearly seen as part of the challenges of Nigeria, with a promise that the Federal government would support Lagos to overcome them and to thrive socially and economically.
While declaring the summit open, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu who shared a-ten-year development, commended residents for their resilience amidst the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic which has disrupted the lives and economies of the world.
He said in the next ten years, there would be a city-wide network of color-coded Metro Lines, moving over 34.5 million people monthly, cutting travel time by over 250 percent and in 2030, Lagos would proudly stand beside every other megacity in the world, while plans are underway in Lagos to reverse the tide of billions lost nationally to medical tourism.
The Governor said the implementation of the plan would not only create millions of direct jobs for skilled youths, but it would also empower women, who own substantial MSMEs in Lagos.
With the theme: For a greater Lagos: Setting the tone for the next decade’, over ten thousand participants from ten countries joined the day one of the summits virtually while those on the ground complied with covid-19 safety protocols.
The Summit will end on Thursday this week.