Lagos leads strategic intervention in human capital development in Southwest
Following the adoption of the national framework for the operation and domestication of Human Capital Development (HCD) across the country, the Lagos State Government along with the Governments of the six southwestern states has committed to investing in people through knowledge and skills acquisition.
At a 2-day HCD Southwest Regional Conference with the theme: “From Plan to Action: Push for HCD” held in Lagos, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu described the HCD as the most responsive initiative that will break the cycle of poverty, address inequality, and boost the productivity of labour in the region.
According to him, this high-level engagement marks the beginning of inter-state and cross-sectorial collaborations among the States to bridge the gap between evidence and action and improve outcomes across the three thematic area of education, health and nutrition and labour force.
Sanwo-Olu who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, disclosed that the collective leadership of this region will be critical to making sure that the country has the opportunity to thrive and that everyone, irrespective of city, has a chance to achieve their highest aspirations.
He stated that the region has a unique and competitive advantage with her distinctive sense of citizen’s identity who are innovative, hard-working, self-reliant and more willing to contribute to economic growth, affirming that government must enliven the HCD ambition with innovative policies that outline short-term and long-term targets.
While alluding to the projection that Africa will soon be home to more than 50% of the world’s youth and the region holds a dominant portion of this demography, the Governor added that there is a sense of urgency for policy makers to create opportunities and prepare the youth for the emerging and complex future.
“In the light of the recently released Multi-dimensional Poverty in Nigeria (2022) Report, government across the 6 States to turn our lens towards creating diverse opportunities for human development by leveraging evidence-based advocacy to mobilize ourselves and take actions to drive the accountability needed to deliver change at scale across communities and improve developmental outcomes for our citizens”, he emphasised.
“Interestingly, the brand of governance that supports the delivery of some objective of HCD has continually been projected in our respective states. The right, the means, the space, the opportunity and the support to participate and influence decisions and engage in actions and activities that will contribute to building a better society lies within our approach to create value for human ingenuity”.
Sanwo-Olu who maintained that while the government needs to create avenues that will facilitate further discussion and newer dimensions to socio-political effort in building a resilient region, the private sector and civil society needs to consistently be encouraged to support efforts in achieving sustainable human capital development across the 3 thematic areas.
Lagos State, according to him, is fully committed to ensuring every child, man and woman within the state is not left behind and has the opportunity to live a full and productive life, adding that inclusiveness and social protection have been placed at the core of our THEMES development agenda.
“We have supported this with our laws, policies and institutions including the passage of a Lagos Social Protection Policy which defines interventions targeting the poor and vulnerable including children, women, persons with disability and the elderly.
“As an affirmation of our pledge to people-centered governance, we have also ensured our budgets are reflective of our aspirations as we have amplify our investment to focus on cultivating “valuable citizens” who are more able and willing to compete in the global economy.
“Along with this effort, we have implemented several initiatives that span Education and Health, Social Welfare, Child Protection, Skills Development, Graduate Employment, Vocational Training, Livelihood Enhancement and Employment, Women and Youth Empowerment, Social Insurance, Social Assistance and Traditional Family and Community Support.”
He said the 30-years Lagos State Development Plan (LSDP 2022-2052) which lays out the overall strategic framework and direction for the State’s development efforts is built around four critical strategic pillars, which include a thriving economy, a human centric city, modern infrastructure, and effective governance.
The Governor further charged the states to develop a set of accelerated priorities for this project, working across MDAs, NGOs, CSOs as well as local and international institutions.
In her welcome address, the HCD Focal Person in Lagos who is also the Special Adviser to the Governor on SDGs and Investment, Mrs. Solape Hammond stated that a key priority of the administration in the last three years has been the alignment of policies and initiatives backed by tangible budget spending on critical human development areas.
Highlighting the State’s priorities in driving human development outcomes in the three thematic areas – Health and Nutrition, Education and Labour Force, Solape said, the aspirations of a government do not lie in its vision but rather in its budget.
“Lagos State has remained a frontrunner in the adoption of innovations, concepts and approaches that seek to improve the lot of our populace and guarantee a better future for coming generations. Notwithstanding these efforts, we are always keen to do more – and we know that much more is needed”, she affirmed.
The Special Adviser revealed that the Lagos State Government is delighted to embrace this platform with her nearest neighbours, brothers and sisters from the South-West to work, learn, drive and push together to achieve the desired result of greatly improved Human Capital Development performance across the region.
Representatives of each of the other 5 States including the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa provided an overview of their state’s strategic interventions towards implementing HCD. They were resolute in their determination to lead from the home fronts, while assuring the gathering that the region will improve their performance in all the HCD index.
The 2-day event which was the first in the nation, provided the appropriate platform for peer-to-peer learning, strategic policy formulation and collaboration.
The event had in attendance, Members of the Lagos State Executive Council, Head of Service, Lagos State, Mr. Muri Okunola; Ogun State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Olaolu Olabimtan; Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa; Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun; Permanent Secretary, Office of SDGs and Investment, Mrs. Abosede George; Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on SDGs, Mr. Lekan Fatodu; Chairperson, HCD, Core Working Group, Mrs. Yosola Akinbi; HCD National Core Working Group; State’s Focal Persons, State Coordinators, all HCD Champions; Representatives from Aliko Dangote Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF among other Development Partners.