Ambode, Obiano, Collier, others say Africa must invest in infrastructure
by JOSHUA BASSEY
February 7, 2017 | 2:03 am| | | Start Conversation
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, his Anambra State counterpart, Willie Obiano, as well as Paul Collier, say Africa must continually invest in infrastructure to quicken the pace of her development and bring about liveable cities.
They spoke on Monday at the 14th annual lecture/international leadership symposium with the theme, ‘Living well together, tomorrow: The challenge of Africa’s future cities,’ held in Lagos.
They say for African cities to catch up with the rest of the world, there is the need for the government to be proactive and invest to bridge the present huge infrastructural gaps.
Ambode said Lagos State was pushing ahead with its plans to remove the unregulated commercial buses, popularly known as ‘danfo,’ from the roads for a more efficient, well-structured mass transportation system that would facilitate ease of movement within the city.
Ambode also said his administration would soon roll out a comprehensive environmental sanitation policy that would make the city to be clean without much burden on the people in terms of taxes.
He admitted that the present connectivity mode in Lagos was not acceptable and befitting for a mega city, and as such a well-structured transportation mode would soon be put in place to address the challenge.
“When I wake up in the morning and see all these yellow buses and Okada and all kinds of tricycles and then we claim we are a mega city, that is not true and we must first acknowledge that that is a faulty connectivity that we are running,” he said.
Collier, a professor and director of Centre for African Economies, Oxford University, and keynote speaker at the event, said judging by the population projection of Nigeria by 2050, now was the time for the country to start building its cities to conform with modern trend.
He said Nigeria’s oil had been a curse, which messed up the economy, and so there was need to start proper planning for development.
As a way out, Collier suggested alliance between the business community and political actors, saying that to build a city that works, attention must be focused on energy and connectivity.
Pat Utomi, a professor of political economy and founder of CVL, said the idea behind the formation of the group was to get young people to begin to appreciate early what leadership was all about – service to the people.
Utomi said Lagos remained the best governed state in Nigeria in the last 18 years, and a good example of what the country should be beyond and without oil.
Liyel Imoke, chairman of the occasion and former governor of Cross River State, said the theme of the symposium was apt considering that Nigeria’s population by 2050 would have tripled and as such it was important for the country to start planning for liveable cities.
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