The Lagos State Government on Thursday unveiled plans to adopt the Boston model to clean up the State Waterways and tackle other environmental issues confronting the State.
State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode disclosed this shortly after series of meetings with the Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh and the Executive Director of Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Mr Paul Levy in the United States of America.
At the meeting, Mr. Levy recalled the Boston Waterways and sewage crises and explained to the Governor and his team on how the government worked hard for years to clean up the harbour as well to provide clean portable water to the people of Boston.
Governor Ambode who was later hosted by the Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, where he held discussions on a Sister-City Collaboration with Boston, equally discussed areas for mutual economic partnership between Lagos and Boston.
The Mayor described Governor Ambode’s visit as a homecoming recalling that the Governor was, earlier in his career, a Fulbright Scholar at the Boston University and also worked in the State Treasury Department.
The Mayor and his team identified areas of mutual interest with Lagos and pushed for collaboration with both cities considering the numerous similarities they share.
Governor Ambode, on his part, said that the knowledge and experience he gained from Boston helped shape his career and benefited him in his position as Governor.
He pledged to explore areas where Lagos could partner with Boston, especially in the clean-up of the Lagos waterways. Governor shared insights into the investment opportunities available in Lagos, stating that Lagos is the prime destination for investments in Nigeria.
In a related development, Governor Ambode in a meeting with senior officials of the MIT Faculty and the MIT Africa Initiative in Cambridge, Boston Massachusetts, confirmed that the State Government has entered into a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the use of innovation and technology to tackle the challenges facing Lagos State.
Governor Ambode informed the MIT Team that Lagos is the technology hub of Africa with Yaba now globally acclaimed as a hotspot for start-ups, assuring that the MIT that his government would continually work to create an environment where new businesses will thrive as well support more tech hubs in Lagos.
He said, “We are Africa’s largest market and we represent a huge opportunity for businesses with solutions that can match our ambitions. Lagos is open to new ideas. Lagos is open for business. Lagos is open for innovation. We welcome new and different perspectives. That is why we are here at MIT. We hope to gain more partners as we continue with the business of making sure that Nigeria and Africa succeeds.”
The Lagos State delegation to MIT including Governor Ambode, Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, the Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare and the Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure, Engineer Ade Akinsanya, were received by the Provost for International Activities, Professor Richard Lester, Faculty Director Legatum Center, Professor Fiona Murray and Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel World and Food Security (JWAFS), Renee Robins.
Governor Ambode and his team also met with the MIT Africa MD, Julia Reynolds-Cuellar and the Director MIT Regional Entrepreneurship and Acceleration Program (REAP) Team on Africa, Sarah-Jane Maxted.
The discussions centred around tapping into MIT’s expertise in technology and innovation to create solutions for Lagos State, where the MIT team expressed their commitment to support and partner with the State Government in its drive to change the face of the State.
Governor Ambode also discussed the possibility of extending the reach of the MIT REAP to Lagos and to positively affect the growth of entrepreneurship in Lagos, just as he directed his team to work out modalities to commence an Empowering Teachers and Global Start-Up Lab programmes in Lagos through the MIT Initiative.
The Governor also scheduled further discussions with the MIT REAP on how entrepreneurs in Lagos can be supported to grow their businesses, innovate and contribute to the Lagos GDP.
As part of the visit, the Governor also held an interactive session with some Nigerian students at MIT, where presentations by young start-ups founded by Nigerians were made, expressing his interest in supporting more young Nigerian entrepreneurs especially with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).