The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said on Thursday that N250 million had been released as seed money to the State Science Research and Innovation Fund.
Sanwo-Olu spoke while declaring open a 2-day Art of Technology Lagos 1.0 (AOT Lagos.) conference, in Victoria Island.
The conference, with the theme: “Bridging the Gap’’, was organised by Eko Innovation Centre and sponsored by First City Monument Bank, Microsoft, Malta Guinness, Oracle, among others.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Lagos State Government is bridging the gap between government and the technology ecosystem through the launch of the Art of Technology.
Sanwo-Olu said that the fund was for research and development in science and technology across different thematic areas in the state.
The governor said that the fund, to be managed by the Lagos State Science, Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC), was to research and develop areas like Artificial Intelligence (AI) to robotics, health informatics and green energy.
According to him, the Council will direct funds to solve issues of national significance through science and technology research.
The governor said it was a platform on which the future of Lagos State as a smart city would be unravelled.
”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 dream 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.
”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.
”We are prepared to provide Lagosians with the opportunity to connect on the global stage.”
“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,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that the state’s challenges put it in a unique position to engineer not just its own solutions but 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,” he said.
Highpoint of the event was the launch of the ”Innovation Master Plan” by the governor, aimed at highlighting the government’s critical focus areas that will unleash a culture of problem solving.
Sanwo-Olu said that the plan addressed the four main pillars that were required to enable a vibrant innovation ecosystem, namely: Access, Talent, Infrastructure and Funding.
According to him, with the administration’s activities in these four main areas, the innovation ecosystem is sure to receive the needed boost to raise its contribution to the state’s economy.
”There is no gainsaying the fact that any society that wants to be reckoned with on the global stage must be grounded in the application of technology to growth and development.
”It is, also, gratifying to note that the world has accepted that Lagos State is the ”Silicon Valley” of the African Continent, with major investments by Microsoft and Google in the Ikeja based ”Computer Village” and emerging tech hubs, which have served as launch pads for the digital careers of numerous youths as software developers.
”We have provided more opportunities for our children in the public primary and secondary schools to acquire ICT knowledge through exposure to Coding.”
”There are many opportunities available for the development of software that can transform the way we see, do or think about life activities.
”Art of Technology 1.0 will open the window for ideas, concepts and principles buried in the creative recesses of our people to break out and transform the landscape.
”It is our goal to foster the gains achieved by the Art of Technology 1.0 to enhance and empower the residents and investors in Lagos, the obvious and preferred location of first choice,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr Hakeem Fahm, in his address, unfolded more of the state government’s plans in the state.
“The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is embarking on a journey to provide 6,000 Kilometres of fiber connectivity in the state.
“Three thousand in 2020 and 3,000 in 2021, in addition to that, he is providing 2, 000 high definition cameras so as to accomplish a safe city initiative and e-governance.
“Pooling all these together will give us smart mobility, healthcare, education, grid and smart energy, smart home, use of internet things and smart relay.
“So, we need a sustainable framework to do this,’’ the commissioner said.
Fahm said that in Smart Lagos, transformation would be seen in key domains such as health, transport, urban solutions, safety and education.
The commissioner said that the state would be safer, more comfortable and more sustainable with the use of sensors, monitoring cameras and smart systems.
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Innovation and Technology, Mr Olatunbosun Alake, said the AOT was an innovation, ecosystem catalysing event that the government was bringing to the people.
“The Art of Technology Lagos 1.0 is an innovation, an ecosystem catalysing event in which the government wants to bring everybody together in an ecosystem.
“Let us make these catalysing connections where funders can meet creators, incubators can meet people with ideas and let’s make all of that work in a serious poll such that the government has support.
“That is what this event is all about,’’ Alake said
NAN reports that AOT Lagos 1.0 brought together 2,000 tech giants, policy makers, government officials, software engineers/programmers, etc., to drive innovations that would pave way for the evolution of a smarter, digital, more efficient and more competitive Lagos State.