Lagos State has entered a historic deal with the city of Dubai as it plans to be the first smart city in Africa. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at the Emirates Tower, Dubai by Lagos state Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem and the Chief Executive Officer of Smart City Dubai LLC, Mr Jabber Bin Hafez. Present at the signing of the MoU were the Lagos State governor, Mr Akinwumi Ambode and Chairman of Dubai Holdings, Ahmad Bin Byat.
“A Smart City Lagos will be the pride of all Lagosians just as we have Smart City Dubai, Smart-City Malta and Smart-City Kochi (India). We are encouraged by the fact that we do not, as a government, need to develop at a slow pace, but take full advantage of the digital age and fast track development of Lagos to a real megalopolis that we can all be proud of,” said Governor Ambode. “The future is ours to take. It also marks the first Smart City in Africa when completed.” The Governor added that apart from creating jobs for the people, the project will lead Lagos to be the world’s first carbon neutral city.
A ‘smart Lagos city’ involves the vision to integrate Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions in a secure way to provide services to its residents. The objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens. It will also provide a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘Smart’ solutions in waste management, energy management, urban mobility, e-governance amongst others. In practice, this may mean that the Lagos of the future will be a megacity where our public information is seamlessly disseminated, greater ease of citizen engagement, better traffic management, renewable sources of energy, video crime monitoring and a host of technology driven governance solutions.
Lagos has made its intentions to be Africa’s first smart city clear by signing this deal, which is the first of its kind. However, the challenge of sufficient power generation and distribution still has to be overcome. If not anything else, history is an indicator that it can easily be decades before this hurdle is passed and the vision is realised.
With a population of 21 million and counting, smarter solutions for governance, waste management, transport and utilities are a necessity, rather than a grandiose gesture.