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​#AoTLagos: Gov Sanwo-Olu unveils Lagos Innovation Masterplan; N250m seed fund for R&D

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Lagos Innovation masterplan
  • N250million seed money to encourage research and development, innovation and ideas creation
  • Fund would be administered by Science, Research and Innovation Council
  • Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe to chair council
  • Defines roadmap to tackle I.A.T faced by tech ecosystem
Lagos Innovation Masterplan 2

L-r: Special Adviser to the Governor, Innovation and Technology, Olatunbosun Alake; Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Commissioner for Science and Technology, Hakeem Fahm and Founder, Eko Innovaton Centre/CEO, Hazon Holdings, during the Governor’s arrival at the Art of Technology (Lagos) 1.0 Conference held at Oriental Hotel, Lagos State

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, alongside his Deputy and other top state functionaries, today unveiled the much expected Lagos State Innovation Masterplan.

The Governor also announced that he had set aside N250million seed fund to encourage research and development, innovation and ideas creation, as part of his bid to achieve the State’s smart city status.

Mr. Sanwo-Olu made the announcements at the two-day Art of Technology Lagos 1.0 (#AoTLagos) conference organised by the Office of the Governor’s Special Adviser on Innovation and Technology in collaboration with Eko Innovation Centre.

He said that the fund would be administered by a science, research and innovation council he has constituted.

The Council would be chaired by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.

Meanwhile, the Governor said that the administration is setting aside $687,000 start-up funds for investment in research and development of tech-focused solutions across the six pillars of his administration’s development agenda.

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The Governor said the establishment of the Council and innovation funds officially began the process of implementing strategies that would help in the realisation of the Smart City initiative of the State.

No fewer than 1,500 young innovators and tech solutions developers are attending the event being held at Oriental Hotel on Victoria Island, under the theme: “Bridging the gap”.

The Governor said that this is the platform on which the future of Lagos State as a smart city will be unravelled.

“Lagos State, the smallest in land size, is the socioeconomic hub of Nigeria and the ECOWAS sub region with a GDP of $136 million and the 3rd largest economy in Africa. At the inception of our administration, we had a vision of growing Lagos State with a population above 20 million from a mega city to a smart city equipped with infrastructure and facilities that work seamlessly to enhance life experiences.

“Our dreams and vision of transforming the landscape in Lagos State was anchored on the pillars of our administration’s “T.H.EM.E.S” philosophy to tackle perceived challenges. The challenges facing an emerging mega city with the potentials and possibilities available in Lagos State include the administration and management of integrated and intermodal transportation to ease movement of human and material assets, access to human capital development through quality education, promotion of entertainment, arts and culture as socioeconomic enterprise vehicles driven by technology.

Lagos Innovation Masterplan 1

L-r: Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Commissioner for Science and Technology, Hakeem Fahm and Special Adviser to the Governor, Innovation and Technology, Olatunbosun Alake, during the unveiling of the Lagos State Innovation Masterplan as part of activities for Art of Technology (Lagos) 1.0 Conference

“It is instructive to note that technology has redefined the way we live and think. Indeed, it is the bedrock of social integration and harmony because of its multiple applications to solve or enhance the art of living itself. It used to be believed that journalism was about history recorded in a hurry, nowadays the disruption of social media as a communication tool records history as it happens. Every citizen has the opportunity of recording and transmitting events as they unfold through the platform of social apps. We are prepared to provide Lagosians with the opportunity to connect on the global stage.

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“We cannot disaffirm the intractable challenges we face as a State. With a population of about 22 million and a crumbling infrastructure, new sustainable methods of transportation and infrastructure deployment must be formulated to keep up with the population growth. The use of artificial intelligence to predict movement of human resources and materials and reverse environmental degradation are critical solutions we need to adopt.   Our challenges put us in a unique position to engineer not just our own solutions but engineer solutions for the world at large.

“In View of these and other issues, our administration is committed to releasing and turbo charging our nascent problem solving potential through innovations in science and technology”.

Why the State is launching Innovation Master Plan

The Governor described the Innovation Master Plan as means to highlight the government’s critical focus areas that will unleash a culture of problem solving.

“This plan addresses the 4 main pillars that are required to enable a vibrant innovation ecosystem,” he said.

He described the pillars as:

Access: From Access to data and Access to markets. Making accessibility easier enables creators get the tools and critical ingredients they need to engineer fit for purpose solutions

Talent: Updated Curriculum that match industry needs are critical areas this administration will look to address

Infrastructure: Broadband communications cannot be overemphasized in the building of a comprehensive technology ecosystem. The administration has already begun to address this

Funding: One critical challenge has been the lack of understanding of our local technology ecosystem by our investors. We will tackle this head on”.

Art of Technology 1.0

Cross section of conference attendees

With this administration’s activities in these 4 main areas, the innovation ecosystem is sure to receive the needed boost to raise its contribution to the state’s economy.

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#AoTLagos 1.0 was convened on the premise that for Lagos to achieve its Smart City ambition, it needs not only technology but also techies. However, a wide gap exists between the between Lagos and the tech community and it is strategic that crack be closed.

The Conference continues tomorrow at Oriental Hotel, Lekki Expressway, Lagos.

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