By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s plan to transform Lagos into a smart city received a boost as leading technology companies in China expressed their willingness in partnering the State to achieve the goal.
At separate meetings with the management teams of Ehang and Huawei, Sanwo-Olu assured the tech giants of the readiness of Lagos to take its rightful place in the comity of megacities by providing key technology and infrastructure required.
He said: “We are at the stage of building critical infrastructure that will make our city more habitable. We want technology to drive economic innovation, public security, health management, waste management, traffic management, government processes and services to the public.
“We do not have the big cheques to sign for this total transformation now, but it is a journey we know will take us into the future we really should be as Africa’s most populous city and seventh largest economy. The vitality of our 22 million people and political stability are valid collateral that should provide comfort in the collaboration we are seeking.
“Our government is determined to efficiently manage traffic and drive compliance with traffic rules from a single point. Traffic officials need to get equipped with gadgets that interface with the command centre real-time. Anyone who needs medical attention should be able to book hospital appointment and get matched with a doctor digitally. Public services and security should be executable online, real-time.
After each meeting, the Governor and his team toured the tech firms’ smart city facilities in Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
The Lagos Government’s team was guided in the tour of Huawei Campus in Shenzhen by the Managing Director of Huawei, Eric Zhang, who was accompanied by the Global Vice President of Enterprise Business Group, Mr. Laurent Fan, Huawei Vice President for Government and Public Utility, David Zhang and Global Public Safety Expert, Peter Goulding, among others.
Zhang said: “We at Huawei are excited that Lagos State is planning digitisation of its assets, processes, operations and public service facilities. Personally, I am familiar with Lagos State and I know that the State needs this transformation and is capable of embarking on it.
“As someone who is very familiar with Nigeria and Lagos especially, Huawei is ready to work with Lagos on the transformation journey. I know that transforming Lagos into Smart-city is an exercise that will happen in phases, but the most important requirement is government commitment, which you have demonstrated”.
“Huawei will be happy to collaborate with you on the project and work with your government to gradually build a State of your vision. More importantly, the impact of this project on the economy, influence of Lagos State in the world and social security are convincing reasons that will make any organisation take interest in collaborating with Lagos State on a project of this significance”.
Earlier Governor Sanwo-Olu called on the Ehang management, a leading Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV) technology company, for possible collaboration on providing facilities for emergency services and security agencies in the State.
Sanwo-Olu said: “Like other megacities in the world, Lagos State is still faced with some challenges that will require very innovative solution. For instance, emergency situations will require urgent and speedy response, just as when there are security challenges because safety of lives and property are very important to our government”.
Ehang’s delegation led by its Director for Strategic Cooperation, Ms. Shiny Biu, said the firm remained open to partnering with the State and to discuss the appropriate models that will serve the goals of the two parties.
Ehang provides AAV products and commercial solution in urban air mobility, including passenger transportation and logistics, smart city management and aerial solutions. The company is the forerunner of cutting-edge AAV technologies and commercial solutions in the global Urban Air Mobility industry.