The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has said that plans are underway to transform the Sabo Industrial Estate in Yaba area of the State to a technology hub.
The Governor said that after completion, the area would become another Silicon Valley where new set of entrepreneurs and innovators would be raised to address the challenges confronting the nation in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
Silicon Valley, which is in San Francisco Bay Area of California, United States, is home to many of the world’s largest high-tech corporations and thousands of start-up companies.
Governor Ambode, who spoke during an inspection tour across the State, explained that government would actualize the plan of transforming Sabo to the new hub for technology in 2017 and support the already established technology incubators in the area to achieve their full potentials.
The Governor said that government was desirous of assisting entrepreneurs in the ICT sector to become good start-ups, adding that his administration would explore all the available initiatives in that regard.
He maintained that entrepreneurs in the sector would be allowed to access the N25billion Employment Trust Fund (ETF), which is an initiative of his administration to grow their businesses, as well as other interventions from the State’s Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment.
At one of the ICT incubators the Governor said “I decided to come here just for me to feel the state of things and to learn about your challenges. Our government is seriously committed to assisting entrepreneurs like the ones here to be able to be good start-ups. I want to also say that we will use our Employment Trust Fund to support this concept here.”
Governor Ambode re-echoed that one of the factors considered when government was setting up the ETF was the need to set up incubators, but with the progress made in that regard by the private sector, government would now only build on the existing technology incubators.
“All we need to do is to now send people here and also support by way of infrastructure to scale up this place and others like this that can help in churning out more people. Our aim is to create enabling environment for our youth to thrive, to be more creative and enterprising. We so much believe in innovation and creativity. We strongly believe that youths are the ones that can take us out of this economic recession and the truth is that we must create enabling environment for our youths to optimally utilize their talents.” he added
He reassured the youths of enabling ecosystem to operate optimally in the state having realised the key role they play in the nation’s development.
“The whole idea is that these young ones here should not just leave this place and go back to where they started from. I think that value chain is what we as government must tap into and then we would be able to move this nation forward. I believe strongly that the youths are the future of this country and we need to pay greater attention to everything that they are doing and I also believe strongly that technology is the key that we are going to use to grow this economy,” he stressed.
The Governor said government would explore the possibility of addressing the power challenges confronting the area, especially by linking the estate to the Mainland Independent Power Project.
In her remarks, the former Minister of Communications and Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, commended the initiative of Governor Ambode to scale up the industrial park in Sabo, saying that the development signalled a new beginning for the technology sector.
Elsewhere, at Ladipo Market where the Governor was received by hundreds of traders, Governor Ambode said from February this year, his administration would commence construction of Alhaji Akinwunmi Street and Ladipo Street, as well as Obagun Avenue, off Fatai Atere Road.
He also said that a multi-layer car park will be constructed to address the chaos in the area in terms of parking of vehicles, but solicited the cooperation of the traders and residents of the area, saying that government would organize a stakeholders’ meeting to discuss modalities for the construction.