Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has restated the State Government’s commitment to creating a structured environment that will advance opportunities for youths to connect and act towards sustainable solutions.
Sanwo-Olu, who disclosed this in his address at the Nigeria SDGs Fintech Hackathon Finals held at the Microsoft Garage, Ikoyi, affirmed that the youths who constitute over 60% of the population are critical assets that cannot be ignored in the drive towards building a globally competitive and sustainable economy.
He explained that the event, which was organised by the Financial Centre for Sustainability, Lagos (FC4S LAGOS) and Nigeria Climate Innovation Centre (NCIC) for 385 participants across five countries in Africa, was aimed at exploring and promoting the creative and innovative capabilities of Nigerian youths in providing solutions to resolve challenges around financing the SDGs using Fintech.
The Governor, represented by his Special Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals and Investment, Solape Hammond, described the event as a deliberate effort to harness the innovative capabilities of young people in the fintech ecosystem geared towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. He added that the commitment demonstrated through the collaboration was aimed at addressing the challenge posed by climate change to humanity.
Speaking on the theme of the event “Fintech-Driven Solutions that Advance Sustainability”, Sanwo-Olu stated that the commitment of his administration to make Lagos the fortress of the digital enterprise, an urban hub of innovation and commerce as well as a fertile market for investment is very clear.
Acknowledging that the initiative is similar to what the State Government is propagating through the Lagos State Science, Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC), he revealed that the establishment of the Council is to support technology-driven innovative ideas geared towards providing solutions to some of the challenges in the critical sectors such as transportation and agriculture etc.
The Governor pointed out that, through the Eko Digital Initiative, the largest education technology initiative in Africa, the government is equipping one million Lagos residents with the knowledge of Coding, while over 344,000 students in primary and secondary schools have received basic computer training and an introduction to Coding using Scratch Programming.
He said Lagos has grown from a nascent ecosystem in 2015 to become designated as the best startup ecosystem in Africa, attracting over 40% of the investments in startups in Africa in 2021 ($1.5bn out of $3.5bn).
In his words: “These investments bring with them, not just significantly greater capacity, but an amazing ecosystem of partners, skills and new opportunities, not just for Lagos State, but for Nigeria and Africa as a whole”.
“We also recognise the need to put in place the appropriate infrastructure that supports and facilitates the growth and sustainability of the tech ecosystem. One of the major steps we are taking is the plan to build the biggest technology hub in West Africa at Yaba under the Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (K.I.T.E) project”, he added.
He pointed out that the tech hub will be a free zone that will promote funding opportunities for innovative ideas in entrepreneurship and Fintec among others.
While acknowledging the organisers’ contributions to promoting such an initiative, Mr. Governor submitted that the tech hubs in the State will facilitate the birth of new innovative and tech-driven solutions that will pave the way for rapid and sustainable socio-economic development.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of cash prizes to the three young Nigerians with the best innovative ideas.