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Lagos governor Sanwo-Olu addresses development challenges at Africa Investment Forum

Governor outlines strategies to tackle population influx and transform challenges into opportunities

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At the ongoing Africa Investment Forum (AIF) in Marrakech, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos acknowledged the development challenges faced by Nigeria’s most populous state, attributing them to “self-inflicted troubles” resulting from its rapid growth over the past two decades. Speaking at the forum themed “Leveraging Cities and Municipalities for National Development,” Sanwo-Olu outlined the impact of uncontrolled migration on the state’s infrastructure and services.

The governor highlighted the continuous expansion of Lagos’ population with each development milestone, resulting in a strain on public facilities and services. Despite these challenges, Sanwo-Olu shared the approaches his administration is adopting to turn these hurdles into opportunities.

Participating in a discussion panel at the AIF moderated by the African Development Bank’s Dr. Victor Oladokun, Governor Sanwo-Olu discussed the state’s increased focus on public planning to harness its population potential. He emphasized the commitment to short- and long-term investments in critical areas, addressing infrastructure deficits, and enhancing mass mobility.

Sanwo-Olu noted the success of the THEMES economic agenda, a six-pillar strategy, in changing the development trajectory of Lagos. The completion of the first subnational intracity rail infrastructure and the establishment of an integrated mass transportation system were among the achievements highlighted by the governor.

To address population congestion, Sanwo-Olu revealed that Lagos has entered into a “sister city” relationship with neighboring Ogun State, aiming to encourage physical development in suburbs. Infrastructure projects, including the Lekki airport and Sea Port in Badagry and the extension of the rail infrastructure into the Badagry corridor, are part of the efforts to decongest the metropolis.

The governor also emphasized the potential of the African creative sector for economic sustainability and encouraged more investments. He highlighted the forthcoming Lagos Film City project in Epe as a game-changer in the creative economy narrative.

In addition, Sanwo-Olu urged increased investment in technology, particularly financial technology, driven by young, vibrant people in Africa. He emphasized the need for a seamless digital payment system across the continent to facilitate business connections.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, while wooing investors, stated that Lagos had a robust mechanism of self-regulation and assessment, promoting transparency and accountability in project financing. He called for more investments in rail infrastructure, airport projects, and waterway transportation, underscoring the state’s commitment to public-private partnerships and its investor-friendly regulatory environment.

“Lagos does not just want to be an elephant; we want to be a giant that will be efficient and which people can rely on,” said Sanwo-Olu, expressing the state’s commitment to becoming a predictable, liveable, resilient, and efficient megacity.

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