Sometime in May of 2016, Lagos State, alongside Enugu State and hundreds of other cities around the world was nominated by the Rockefeller Foundation in the 100 Resilient Cities project. The project is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. And only two days ago, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode received the Certificate of Admission of the State as one of the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) in the world.
According to him, it was a starting point and a positive partnership that would help the State address the challenges of urban planning, transport gridlock, environment and modern infrastructure.
Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode speaking while receiving the certificate at the event which took place at Renaissance Hotel, GRA Ikeja, Lagos said that this recognition was significant in showing the government’s efforts, coupled with that of relevant stakeholders, geared towards building and sustaining a globally competitive state is noticed and applauded on an international scale. “This is historic in the annals of the state,” he added.
The Governor said it was satisfying to see that in spite of the obstacles faced by the people of Lagos state in areas such as transportation, security, climate change, the surge of the Atlantic, flooding, unemployment, population density as well as pressure on physical and social infrastructure, growth of slums and a huge housing deficit, Lagos remained progressive, true to the spirit of excellence and resilience.
He said: “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,” he said.
Governor Ambode further said that resilience had always been part of the Lagos story, pointing that in spite of its small size geographically, its economic power and population size is staggering.
“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.
“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,” he said.
President of 100 Resilient Cities, Mr. Michael Berkowitz said out of the over thousands of entries received and a tedious selection process, Lagos was chosen for its “innovative leadership, infrastructural strides and influential status not just in Africa but in the world”.
This award reflects the sentiments of Jumia Travel CEO Paul Midy, who only a while back reiterated that despite the recession Nigeria (Lagos) is still a great place to do business.
With this Resilience Award, it is believed that Lagos state has taken a giant stride in cementing its position as a global city of the future, attracting investment, bringing people from all over the world, and with it the blossoming of the hotel and hospitality industry which all players from hotel owners to tour guides would no doubt stand to benefit from.