On Wednesday 25th May, 2016 the Lagos State Government received the news of our selection to join the group of 100 Resilient Cities network, a cause pioneered by the highly esteemed Rockefeller foundation.This news was a proud moment for our State and a confirmation that our efforts to build a globally competitive State have received international recognition.
I am happy to welcome Mr. Michael Berkowitz,the President of the 100 Resilient Cities and his very resourceful team to Lagos State, the State of aquatic splendor and the Centre of Excellence.
Resilience dictates that,rather than dwell on our challenges or shortcomings, we capitalize and exploit the massive opportunities that exist therein.
We acknowledge these challenges and needs;and now as a member of the 100 resilient Cities of the World, we have a platform to compare notes with cities who have similar experiences and create innovative and mitigating strategies.
Lagos is currently home to about 23 million inhabitants with an estimated 86 people moving into Lagos every hour. This creates challenges of managing a daily increase in human and vehicular movement.Apart from transportation, our State is faced with other challenges including security,ocean surge, flooding, high unemployment rate, pressure on physical and social infrastructure, growth of slums and a huge housing deficit. Yet Lagos remains resilient and ever-progressive.
Resilience has always been part of the Lagos story. We are the smallest state in Nigeria by geographical size but the largest by population and economic power. Many would recall the manner with which Lagos contained the outbreak of the Ebola virus in 2015 and secured our residents from a terrible epidemic that was thrust upon us.
You may want to ask how wehave coped in the face of these challenges.The answer is simple; innovation, determination and resilience. To tackle the housing deficit, our administration recently introduced the Rent – To – Own housing scheme, a micro finance housing scheme where allotees pay a small initial deposit, spread the balance in monthly instalmentsover a period of years and ownership transferred to the beneficiary.In addition, our government is currently in partnership with the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) to upgrade 2 blighted settlements in Bariga and Amukoko.
We have initiated many interventions all over the State to shorten road travel time and we are in talks with the Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA) to introduce rail transportation in the Ikoyi-Lekki corridor. We have also engaged in massive road construction and opening-up of our rural communities, continuous clearance of drainages and the upgrade and construction of Primary Health Care Centers (PHCs). Our objective is to make every community in Lags economically liveable and stem rural-urban flight.
In response to the high unemployment figures, we created the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to provide cheap source of funding to our young entrepreneurs and SME’s. The Fund started disbursement to beneficiaries in December 2016 and more funds will be made available to in the coming months to stimulate economic activity and get more of our young people employed.
The ocean surge is a huge challenge and the Lagos State Government in partnership with notable investors have invested in the development of Eko Atlantic City to not only contain the ocean surge but to deliver a new city which will be a future financial, commercial and tourism centre.
Being a part of the network of 100 Resilient Cities comes at a good time when our State is looking to join the leading city-states of the world. We are open to new ideas, new technology and new methods.
It is our belief that membership of this network will be beneficial to our State and would offer us more opportunities to access investment and partnerships that will foster massive infrastructural development over the next couple of years.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as you deliberate on setting an agenda for a resilient Lagos, I urge you to look beyond the challenges I have already highlighted and draw a road map for a resilient Lagos.
I wish you fruitful deliberations and I look forward to receiving your report.
ItesiwajuIpinleEko lo je walogun